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Nat Mater. 2018 Jun;17(6):509-513. doi: 10.1038/s41563-018-0041-5. Epub 2018 Mar 19.

Spin currents and spin-orbit torques in ferromagnetic trilayers.

Author information

1
Department of Materials Science and Engineering and KI for Nanocentury, KAIST, Daejeon, Korea.
2
School of Electrical Engineering, KAIST, Daejeon, Korea.
3
Maryland Nanocenter, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA.
4
Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, USA.
5
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Korea University, Seoul, Korea.
6
KU-KIST Graduate School of Converging Science and Technology, Korea University, Seoul, Korea.
7
Department of Physics, KAIST, Daejeon, Korea.
8
Department of Materials Science and Engineering and KI for Nanocentury, KAIST, Daejeon, Korea. bgpark@kaist.ac.kr.
9
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Korea University, Seoul, Korea. kj_lee@korea.ac.kr.
10
KU-KIST Graduate School of Converging Science and Technology, Korea University, Seoul, Korea. kj_lee@korea.ac.kr.

Abstract

Magnetic torques generated through spin-orbit coupling1-8 promise energy-efficient spintronic devices. For applications, it is important that these torques switch films with perpendicular magnetizations without an external magnetic field9-14. 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 generation16,17 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.

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PMID:
29555998
DOI:
10.1038/s41563-018-0041-5

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