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Spin currents and spin–orbit torques in ferromagnetic trilayers

Spin currents and spin–orbit torques in ferromagnetic trilayers Magnetic torques generated through spin–orbit coupling 1–8 promise energy-efficient spintronic devices. For applications, it is important that these torques switch films with perpendicular magnetizations without an external magnetic field 9–14 . One suggested approach 15 to enable such switching uses magnetic trilayers in which the torque on the top magnetic layer can be manipulated by changing the magnetization of the bottom layer. Spin currents generated in the bottom magnetic layer or its interfaces transit the spacer layer and exert a torque on the top magnetization. Here we demonstrate field-free switching in such structures and show that its dependence on the bottom-layer magnetization is not consistent with the anticipated bulk effects 15 . We describe a mechanism for spin-current generation 16,17 at the interface between the bottom layer and the spacer layer, which gives torques that are consistent with the measured magnetization dependence. This other-layer-generated spin–orbit torque is relevant to energy-efficient control of spintronic devices. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Nature Materials Springer Journals

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References (34)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 by The Author(s)
Subject
Materials Science; Materials Science, general; Optical and Electronic Materials; Biomaterials; Nanotechnology; Condensed Matter Physics
ISSN
1476-1122
eISSN
1476-4660
DOI
10.1038/s41563-018-0041-5
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Magnetic torques generated through spin–orbit coupling 1–8 promise energy-efficient spintronic devices. For applications, it is important that these torques switch films with perpendicular magnetizations without an external magnetic field 9–14 . One suggested approach 15 to enable such switching uses magnetic trilayers in which the torque on the top magnetic layer can be manipulated by changing the magnetization of the bottom layer. Spin currents generated in the bottom magnetic layer or its interfaces transit the spacer layer and exert a torque on the top magnetization. Here we demonstrate field-free switching in such structures and show that its dependence on the bottom-layer magnetization is not consistent with the anticipated bulk effects 15 . We describe a mechanism for spin-current generation 16,17 at the interface between the bottom layer and the spacer layer, which gives torques that are consistent with the measured magnetization dependence. This other-layer-generated spin–orbit torque is relevant to energy-efficient control of spintronic devices.

Journal

Nature MaterialsSpringer Journals

Published: Mar 19, 2018

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