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Separation of Artifacts from Spin-Torque Ferromagnetic Resonance Measurements of Spin-Orbit Torque for the Low-Symmetry van der Waals Semi-Metal ZrTeWe measure spin-orbit torque generated by exfoliated layers of the low-symmetry semi-metal ZrTe3 using the spin-torque ferromagnetic resonance (ST-FMR) technique. When the ZrTe3 has a thickness greater than about 10 nm, artifacts due to spin pumping and/or resonant heating can cause the standard ST-FMR analysis to overestimate the true magnitude of the torque efficiency by as much as a factor of 30, and to indicate incorrectly that the spin-orbit torque depends strongly on the ZrTe3 layer thickness. Artifact-free measurements can still be achieved over a substantial thickness range by the method developed recently to detect ST-FMR signals in the Hall geometry as well as the longitudinal geometry. ZrTe3/Permalloy samples generate a conventional in-plane anti-damping spin torque efficiency ξDL|| = 0.014 ± 0.004, and an unconventional in-plane field-like torque efficiency |ξFL||| = 0.003 ± 0.001. The out-of-plane anti-damping torque is negligible. We suggest that artifacts similarly interfere with the standard ST-FMR analysis for other van der Waals samples thicker than about 10 nm.
Time-resolved Kerr microscopy (TRSKM) has been used to explore the small amplitude picosecond magnetization dynamics induced by spin–orbit torques in a Ta(4 nm)/Co40Fe40B20(1 nm)/MgO(1.6 nm)/Ta(1 nm) Hall bar structure. The time dependent polar magneto optical Kerr effect was recorded following injection of a current pulse of 70 ps duration. Macrospin simulations provide a reasonable description of the precession and a transient background response as the field strength and current polarity are varied, while confirming that the in-plane spin–orbit torque is dominant within this system. Increasing the current density within the simulations leads to coherent magnetization reversal. Inclusion of a modest in-plane bias field is found to reduce both the switching current and the time required for switching. The orientation of the in-plane field relative to the direction of the current determines whether the magnetization can be switched backwards and forwards by current pulses of the same or opposite polarity.
Abstract The interconversion of charge and spin currents via spin-Hall effect is essential for spintronics. Energy-efficient and deterministic switching of magnetization can be achieved when spin polarizations of these spin currents are collinear with the magnetization. However, symmetry conditions generally restrict spin polarizations to be orthogonal to both the charge and spin flows. Spin polarizations can deviate from such direction in nonmagnetic materials only when the crystalline symmetry is reduced. Here, we show control of the spin polarization direction by using a non-collinear antiferromagnet Mn 3 GaN, in which the triangular spin structure creates a low magnetic symmetry while maintaining a high crystalline symmetry. We demonstrate that epitaxial Mn 3 GaN/permalloy heterostructures can generate unconventional spin-orbit torques at room temperature corresponding to out-of-plane and Dresselhaus-like spin polarizations which are forbidden in any sample with two-fold rotational symmetry. Our results demonstrate an approach based on spin-structure design for controlling spin-orbit torque, enabling high-efficient antiferromagnetic spintronics.
Giant spin-orbit torque (SOT) from topological insulators (TIs) provides an energy efficient writing method for magnetic memory, which, however, is still premature for practical applications due to the challenge of the integration with magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs). Here, we demonstrate a functional TI-MTJ device that could become the core element of the future energy-efficient spintronic devices, such as SOT-based magnetic random-access memory (SOT-MRAM). The state-of-the-art tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR) ratio of 102% and the ultralow switching current density of 1.2 × 105 A cm−2have been simultaneously achieved in the TI-MTJ device at room temperature, laying down the foundation for TI-driven SOT-MRAM. The charge-spin conversion efficiency
θSHin TIs is quantified by both the SOT-induced shift of the magnetic switching field ( θSH = 1.59) and the SOT-induced ferromagnetic resonance (ST-FMR) ( θSH = 1.02), which is one order of magnitude larger than that in conventional heavy metals. These results inspire a revolution of SOT-MRAM from classical to quantum materials, with great potential to further reduce the energy consumption.
Controlling magnetization dynamics is imperative for developing ultrafast spintronics and tunable microwave devices. However, the previous research has demonstrated limited electric-field modulation of the effective magnetic damping, a parameter that governs the magnetization dynamics. Here, we propose an approach to manipulate the damping by using the large damping enhancement induced by the two-magnon scattering and a nonlocal spin relaxation process in which spin currents are resonantly transported from antiferromagnetic domains to ferromagnetic matrix in a mixed-phased metallic alloy FeRh. This damping enhancement in FeRh is sensitive to its fraction of antiferromagnetic and ferromagnetic phases, which can be dynamically tuned by electric fields through a strain-mediated magnetoelectric coupling. In a heterostructure of FeRh and piezoelectric PMN-PT, we demonstrated a more than 120% modulation of the effective damping by electric fields during the antiferromagnetic-to-ferromagnetic phase transition. Our results demonstrate an efficient approach to controlling the magnetization dynamics, thus enabling low-power tunable electronics.