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Imaging mesoscopic antiferromagnetic spin textures in the dilute limit from single-geometry resonant coherent x-ray diffraction


The detection and manipulation of antiferromagnetic domains and topological antiferromagnetic textures are of central interest to solid-state physics. A fundamental step is identifying tools to probe the mesoscopic texture of an antiferromagnetic order parameter. In this work, we demonstrate that Bragg coherent diffractive imaging can be extended to study the mesoscopic texture of an antiferromagnetic order parameter using resonant magnetic x-ray scattering. We study the onset of the antiferromagnet transition in PrNiO3, focusing on a temperature regime in which the antiferromagnetic domains are dilute in the beam spot and the coherent diffraction pattern modulating the antiferromagnetic peak is greatly simplified. We demonstrate that it is possible to extract the arrangements and sizes of these domains from single diffraction patterns and show that the approach could be extended to a time-structured light source to study the motion of dilute domains or the motion of topological defects in an antiferromagnetic spin texture.

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