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Nat Nanotechnol. 2017 Oct;12(10):980-986. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2017.151. Epub 2017 Aug 21.

Spatially and time-resolved magnetization dynamics driven by spin-orbit torques.

Author information

1
Department of Materials, ETH Zürich, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland.
2
IMEC, Kapeldreef 75, 3001 Leuven, Belgium.
3
Laboratory for Solid State Physics, ETH Zürich, 8093 Zürich, Switzerland.
4
Paul Scherrer Institute, 5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland.

Abstract

Current-induced spin-orbit torques are one of the most effective ways to manipulate the magnetization in spintronic devices, and hold promise for fast switching applications in non-volatile memory and logic units. Here, we report the direct observation of spin-orbit-torque-driven magnetization dynamics in Pt/Co/AlOx dots during current pulse injection. Time-resolved X-ray images with 25 nm spatial and 100 ps temporal resolution reveal that switching is achieved within the duration of a subnanosecond current pulse by the fast nucleation of an inverted domain at the edge of the dot and propagation of a tilted domain wall across the dot. The nucleation point is deterministic and alternates between the four dot quadrants depending on the sign of the magnetization, current and external field. Our measurements reveal how the magnetic symmetry is broken by the concerted action of the damping-like and field-like spin-orbit torques and the Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction, and show that reproducible switching events can be obtained for over 1012 reversal cycles.

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PMID:
28825713
DOI:
10.1038/nnano.2017.151

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