Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Nature. 2014 Jul 24;511(7510):449-51. doi: 10.1038/nature13534.

Spin-transfer torque generated by a topological insulator.

Author information

1
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.
2
Department of Physics, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802, USA.
3
1] Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA [2] Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel.
4
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Physical Sciences and Engineering Division, Thuwal 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia.
5
1] Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA [2] Kavli Institute at Cornell, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA.

Abstract

Magnetic devices are a leading contender for the implementation of memory and logic technologies that are non-volatile, that can scale to high density and high speed, and that do not wear out. However, widespread application of magnetic memory and logic devices will require the development of efficient mechanisms for reorienting their magnetization using the least possible current and power. There has been considerable recent progress in this effort; in particular, it has been discovered that spin-orbit interactions in heavy-metal/ferromagnet bilayers can produce strong current-driven torques on the magnetic layer, via the spin Hall effect in the heavy metal or the Rashba-Edelstein effect in the ferromagnet. In the search for materials to provide even more efficient spin-orbit-induced torques, some proposals have suggested topological insulators, which possess a surface state in which the effects of spin-orbit coupling are maximal in the sense that an electron's spin orientation is fixed relative to its propagation direction. Here we report experiments showing that charge current flowing in-plane in a thin film of the topological insulator bismuth selenide (Bi2Se3) at room temperature can indeed exert a strong spin-transfer torque on an adjacent ferromagnetic permalloy (Ni81Fe19) thin film, with a direction consistent with that expected from the topological surface state. We find that the strength of the torque per unit charge current density in Bi2Se3 is greater than for any source of spin-transfer torque measured so far, even for non-ideal topological insulator films in which the surface states coexist with bulk conduction. Our data suggest that topological insulators could enable very efficient electrical manipulation of magnetic materials at room temperature, for memory and logic applications.

Comment in

PMID:
25056062
DOI:
10.1038/nature13534
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Nature Publishing Group
    Loading ...
    Support Center