Ferromagnetic exchange, spin-orbit coupling and spiral magnetism at the LaAlO 3/SrTiO 3 interface

Sumilan Banerjee, Onur Erten, Mohit Randeria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Scopus citations


The electronic properties of the polar interface between insulating oxides is a subject of great interest. An exciting development is the observation of robust magnetism at the interface of two non-magnetic materials, LaAlO 3 (LAO) and SrTiO 3 (STO). Here we present a microscopic theory for the formation and interaction of local moments that depends on essential features of the LAO/STO interface. We show that correlation-induced moments arise owing to interfacial splitting of orbital degeneracy. We find that conduction electrons with a gate-tunable Rashba spin-orbit coupling mediate ferromagnetic exchange with a twist. We predict that the zero-field ground state is a long-wavelength spiral. Its evolution in an external field accounts semi-quantitatively for torque magnetometry data and describes qualitative aspects of the scanning superconducting quantum interference device measurements. We make several testable predictions for future experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)626-630
Number of pages5
JournalNature Physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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