Emergent Spin Glass Behavior Created by Self-Assembled Antiferromagnetic NiO Columns in Ferrimagnetic NiFeO

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Spin glass (SG) is a magnetic state with spin structure incommensurate with lattice and charge. Fundamental understanding of its behavior has a profound impact on many technological problems. Here, we present a novel case of interface-induced spin glass behavior via self-assembly of single-crystalline NiO microcolumns in a single-crystalline NiFeO matrix. Scanning transmission electron microscopy indicates that the hexagonal-shaped NiO columns are along their [211] direction and oriented along the [111] direction of the NiFeO matrix. Magnetic force microscopy reveals magnetic anisotropy between NiO columns (antiferromagnetic transition temperature ∼ 523 K) and NiFeO matrix (ferrimagnetic transition temperature ∼ 860 K). This leads to spin disorder/frustration at atomically sharp NiFeO/NiO interfaces responsible for spin glass behavior below ∼ 28 K. Our results demonstrate that self-assembly of magnetically distinct microstructures into another crystalline and magnetically ordered matrix is an effective way to create novel spin states at interfaces.

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ACS applied materials & interfaces

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