Electrically Tunable Magnetism in Magnetic Topological Insulators

Jing Wang, Biao Lian, Shou Cheng Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


The external controllability of the magnetic properties in topological insulators would be important both for fundamental and practical interests. Here we predict the electric-field control of ferromagnetism in a thin film of insulating magnetic topological insulators. The decrease of band inversion by the application of electric fields results in a reduction of magnetic susceptibility, and hence in the modification of magnetism. Remarkably, the electric field could even induce the magnetic quantum phase transition from ferromagnetism to paramagnetism. We further propose a transistor device in which the dissipationless charge transport of chiral edge states is controlled by an electric field. In particular, the field-controlled ferromagnetism in a magnetic topological insulator can be used for voltage based writing of magnetic random access memories in magnetic tunnel junctions. The simultaneous electrical control of magnetic order and chiral edge transport in such devices may lead to electronic and spintronic applications for topological insulators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number036805
JournalPhysical review letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 14 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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