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Title: Sagnac interferometry for high-sensitivity optical measurements of spin-orbit torque
We adapt Sagnac interferometry for magneto-optic Kerr effect measurements of spin-orbit-torque-induced magnetic tilting in thin-film magnetic samples. The high sensitivity of Sagnac interferometry permits for the first time optical quantification of spin-orbit torque from small-angle magnetic tilting of samples with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA). We find significant disagreement between Sagnac measurements and simultaneously-performed harmonic Hall (HH) measurements of spin-orbit torque on Pt/Co/MgO and Pd/Co/MgO samples with PMA. The Sagnac results for PMA samples are consistent with both HH and Sagnac measurements for the in-plane geometry, so we conclude that the conventional analysis framework for PMA HH measurements is flawed. We suggest that the explanation for this discrepancy is that although magnetic-field induced magnetic tilting in PMA samples can produce a strong planar Hall effect, when tilting is instead generated by spin-orbit torque it produces negligible change in the planar Hall signal. This very surprising result demonstrates an error in the most-popular method for measuring spin-orbit torques in PMA samples, and represents an unsolved puzzle in understanding the planar Hall effect in magnetic thin films.
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