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Nature. 2000 Jul 6;406(6791):46-8.

Generation and detection of phase-coherent current-driven magnons in magnetic multilayers

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Grenoble High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Max-Planck-Institut fur Festkorperforschung and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France.


The magnetic state of a ferromagnet can affect the electrical transport properties of the material; for example, the relative orientation of the magnetic moments in magnetic multilayers underlies the phenomenon of giant magnetoresistance. The inverse effect--in which a large electrical current density can perturb the magnetic state of a multilayer--has been predicted and observed experimentally with point contacts and lithographically patterned samples. Some of these observations were taken as indirect evidence for current-induced excitation of spin waves, or 'magnons'. Here we probe directly the high-frequency behaviour and partial phase coherence of such current-induced excitations, by externally irradiating a point contact with microwaves. We determine the magnon spectrum and investigate how the magnon frequency and amplitude vary with the exciting current. Our observations support the feasibility of a spin-wave maser' or 'SWASER' (spin-wave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation).


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