Exchange-mediated magnetic blue-shift of the band-gap energy in the antiferromagnetic semiconductor MnTe

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2020
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Terschanski, Marc
Mertens, Fabian
Springholz, Gunther
Bonanni, Alberta
Uhrig, Götz S.
Cinchetti, Mirko
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In magnetic semiconductors the optical spectrum and, in particular, the absorption edge representing the band-gap are strongly affected by the onset of the magnetic order. This contribution to the band-gap energy has hitherto been described theoretically in terms of a Heisenberg Hamiltonian, in which a delocalized conduction carrier is coupled to the localized magnetic moments by the exchange interaction. Such models, however, do not take into account the strong correlations displayed in a wide variety of magnetic semiconductors, which are responsible for the formation of the local moments. In particular, the itinerant carrier itself contributes to the spin moment. Here, we overcome this simplification in a combined experimental and theoretical study of the antiferromagnetic semiconductor α-MnTe. First, we present a spectroscopic optical investigation as a function of temperature, from which we extract the magnetic contribution to the blue-shift of the band-gap. Second, we formulate a minimal model based on a Hubbard–Kondo Hamiltonian. In this model, the itinerant charge is one of the electrons forming the localized magnetic moment, which properly captures correlation effects in the material. Our theory reproduces the experimental findings with excellent quantitative agreement, demonstrating that the magnetic contribution to the band-gap energy of α-MnTe is mediated solely by the exchange interaction. These results describe an intrinsic property of the material, independent of the thickness, substrate and capping layer of the specimen. One of the key findings of the model is that the basic effect, namely a blue-shift of the band-gap due to the establishment of the magnetic order, is a general phenomenon in charge-transfer insulators. The identification of the relevant magnetic interaction discloses the possibility to exploit the effect here discussed to induce a novel regime of coherent spin dynamics, in which spin oscillations on a characteristic time-scale of 100 fs are triggered and are intrinsically coupled to charges.

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530 Physik
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optical spectroscopy, magnetism, solid state physics, correlated materials, semiconductors
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ISO 690BOSSINI, Davide, Marc TERSCHANSKI, Fabian MERTENS, Gunther SPRINGHOLZ, Alberta BONANNI, Götz S. UHRIG, Mirko CINCHETTI, 2020. Exchange-mediated magnetic blue-shift of the band-gap energy in the antiferromagnetic semiconductor MnTe. In: New Journal of Physics. Institute of Physics Publishing (IOP). 2020, 22(8), 083029. eISSN 1367-2630. Available under: doi: 10.1088/1367-2630/aba0e7
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@article{Bossini2020-08-13Excha-53319,
  year={2020},
  doi={10.1088/1367-2630/aba0e7},
  title={Exchange-mediated magnetic blue-shift of the band-gap energy in the antiferromagnetic semiconductor MnTe},
  number={8},
  volume={22},
  journal={New Journal of Physics},
  author={Bossini, Davide and Terschanski, Marc and Mertens, Fabian and Springholz, Gunther and Bonanni, Alberta and Uhrig, Götz S. and Cinchetti, Mirko},
  note={Article Number: 083029}
}
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