Biquadratic exchange interactions in two-dimensional magnets

Alexey Kartsev, Mathias Augustin, Richard F.L. Evans, Kostya S. Novoselov, Elton J.G. Santos*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Magnetism in recently discovered van der Waals materials has opened several avenues in the study of fundamental spin interactions in truly two-dimensions. A paramount question is what effect higher-order interactions beyond bilinear Heisenberg exchange have on the magnetic properties of few-atom thick compounds. Here we demonstrate that biquadratic exchange interactions, which is the simplest and most natural form of non-Heisenberg coupling, assume a key role in the magnetic properties of layered magnets. Using a combination of nonperturbative analytical techniques, non-collinear first-principles methods and classical Monte Carlo calculations that incorporate higher-order exchange, we show that several quantities including magnetic anisotropies, spin-wave gaps and topological spin-excitations are intrinsically renormalized leading to further thermal stability of the layers. We develop a spin Hamiltonian that also contains antisymmetric exchanges (e.g., Dzyaloshinskii–Moriya interactions) to successfully rationalize numerous observations, such as the non-Ising character of several compounds despite a strong magnetic anisotropy, peculiarities of the magnon spectrum of 2D magnets, and the discrepancy between measured and calculated Curie temperatures. Our results provide a theoretical framework for the exploration of different physical phenomena in 2D magnets where biquadratic exchange interactions have an important contribution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number150
Number of pages11
Journalnpj Computational Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2020

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