The validity of the so-called force theorem is critical for the computational/theoretical determination of the magnetocrystalline anisotropy (MCA) in the framework of local density theory. This theorem states that the spin-orbit coupling induced MCA energy is given by the difference in the fully relativistic band energies between two magnetization directions calculated with the same self-consistent scalar-relativistic potential. We show that the charge-and spin-density variations caused by spin-orbit coupling vanish to first order in the spin-orbit coupling strength. By the stationary property of the total energy functional, we establish rigorously the validity of the force theorem for surface/interface MCA. We show that our arguments also apply to a variant of the MCA force theorem and discuss problems of applying the force theorem for MCA in bulk systems with cubic crystalline symmetry.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics