Electrically and magnetically switchable nonlinear photocurrent in РТ-symmetric magnetic topological quantum materials Academic Article uri icon


  • AbstractNonlinear photocurrent in time-reversal invariant noncentrosymmetric systems such as ferroelectric semimetals sparked tremendous interest of utilizing nonlinear optics to characterize condensed matter with exotic phases. Here we provide a microscopic theory of two types of second-order nonlinear direct photocurrents, magnetic shift photocurrent (MSC) and magnetic injection photocurrent (MIC), as the counterparts of normal shift current (NSC) and normal injection current (NIC) in time-reversal symmetry and inversion symmetry broken systems. We show that MSC is mainly governed by shift vector and interband Berry curvature, and MIC is dominated by absorption strength and asymmetry of the group velocity difference at time-reversed ±k points. Taking $${cal{P}}{cal{T}}$$ P T -symmetric magnetic topological quantum material bilayer antiferromagnetic (AFM) MnBi2Te4 as an example, we predict the presence of large MIC in the terahertz (THz) frequency regime which can be switched between two AFM states with time-reversed spin orderings upon magnetic transition. In addition, external electric field breaks $${cal{P}}{cal{T}}$$ P T symmetry and enables large NSC response in bilayer AFM MnBi2Te4, which can be switched by external electric field. Remarkably, both MIC and NSC are highly tunable under varying electric field due to the field-induced large Rashba and Zeeman splitting, resulting in large nonlinear photocurrent response down to a few THz regime, suggesting bilayer AFM-z MnBi2Te4 as a tunable platform with rich THz and magneto-optoelectronic applications. Our results reveal that nonlinear photocurrent responses governed by NSC, NIC, MSC, and MIC provide a powerful tool for deciphering magnetic structures and interactions which could be particularly fruitful for probing and understanding magnetic topological quantum materials.

author list (cited authors)

  • Wang, H., & Qian, X.

publication date

  • January 1, 2020 11:11 AM