In this work, published in Physical Review Letters, we demonstrate that the polarization of light is changed dramatically when its energy resonates with the polaron-hopping energy of self-trapped electrons. In the presence of spin-orbit coupling, the self-trapped hopping electron may reverse its spin producing a large gyrotropic effect, which is observed close to room temperature. The effect is observed in and, plausibly, should be present in other manganites.
Since straining this kind of materials can change the polaron concentration, our finding suggests a route to mechanical or electro-mechanical control of the magneto-optical effect, paving the way to unconventional magnetoelectric effects.
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