skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on June 1, 2023

Title: Giant bulk spin–orbit torque and efficient electrical switching in single ferrimagnetic FeTb layers with strong perpendicular magnetic anisotropy
Efficient manipulation of antiferromagnetically coupled materials that are integration-friendly and have strong perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA) is of great interest for low-power, fast, dense magnetic storage and computing. Here, we report a distinct, giant bulk damping-like spin–orbit torque in strong-PMA ferrimagnetic Fe 100− x Tb x single layers that are integration-friendly (composition-uniform, amorphous, and sputter-deposited). For sufficiently thick layers, this bulk torque is constant in the efficiency per unit layer thickness, [Formula: see text]/ t, with a record-high value of 0.036 ± 0.008 nm −1 , and the damping-like torque efficiency [Formula: see text] achieves very large values for thick layers, up to 300% for 90 nm layers. This giant bulk torque by itself switches tens of nm thick Fe 100− x Tb x layers that have very strong PMA and high coercivity at current densities as low as a few MA/cm 2 . Surprisingly, for a given layer thickness, [Formula: see text] shows strong composition dependence and becomes negative for composition where the total angular momentum is oriented parallel to the magnetization rather than antiparallel. Our findings of giant bulk spin torque efficiency and intriguing torque-compensation correlation will stimulate study of such unique spin–orbit phenomena in a variety of ferrimagnetic hosts. This work more » paves a promising avenue for developing ultralow-power, fast, dense ferrimagnetic storage and computing devices. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1719875
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10325362
Journal Name:
Applied Physics Reviews
Volume:
9
Issue:
2
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
021402
ISSN:
1931-9401
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. We 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 Hallmore »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.« less
  2. Pinhole-free and defect-free ultrathin dielectric tunnel barriers (TBs) is a key to obtaining high tunnelling magnetoresistance (TMR) and efficient switching in magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs). Among others, atomic layer deposition (ALD) provides a unique approach for the fabrication of ultrathin TBs with several advantages including an atomic-scale control on the TB thickness, conformal coating, and low defects density. Motivated by this, this work explores fabrication and characterization of spin-valve Fe/ALD-Al2O3/Fe MTJs with ALD-Al2O3 TB thickness of 0.55 nm using in situ ALD. Remarkably, high TMR values of ~77% and ~ 90% have been obtained respectively at room temperature and atmore »100 K, which are comparable to the best reported values on MTJs having thermal AlOx TBs with optimized device structures. In situ scanning tunnelling spectroscopy characterization of the ALD-Al2O3 TBs has revealed a higher tunnel barrier height (Eb) of 1.33±0.06 eV, in contrast to Eb~0.3-0.6 eV for their AlOx TB counterparts, indicative of significantly lower defect concentration in the former. This first success of the MTJs with sub-nm thick ALD-Al2O3 TBs demonstrates the feasibility of in situ ALD for fabrication of pinhole-free and low-defect ultrathin TBs for practical applications and the performance could be further improved through device optimization.« less
  3. 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. Wemore »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.« less
  4. A major recent breakthrough in materials science is the emergence of intrinsic magnetism in two-dimensional (2D) crystals, which opens the door to more cutting-edge fields in the 2D family and could eventually lead to novel data-storage and information devices with further miniaturization. Herein we propose an experimentally feasible 2D material, Fe 2 I 2 , which is an intrinsic room-temperature ferromagnet exhibiting perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA). Using first-principles calculations, we demonstrate that single-layer (SL) Fe 2 I 2 is a spin-gapless semiconductor with a spin-polarized Dirac cone and linear energy dispersion in one spin channel, exhibiting promising dissipation-less transport propertiesmore »with a Fermi velocity up to 6.39 × 10 5 m s −1 . Our results reveal that both strain and ferroelectric polarization switching could induce an out-of- to in-plane spin reorientation in the 2D Fe 2 I 2 layer, revealing its advantage in assembling spintronic devices. In addition, spin–orbit coupling (SOC) triggers a topologically nontrivial band gap of 301 meV with a nonzero Chern number (| C | = 2), giving rise to a robust quantum anomalous Hall (QAH) state. The 2D crystal also exhibits high carrier mobilites of 0.452 × 10 3 and 0.201 × 10 3 cm 2 V −1 s −1 for the electrons and holes, respectively. The combination of these unique properties renders the 2D Fe 2 I 2 ferromagnet a promising platform for high efficiency multi-functional spintronic applications.« less
  5. In this work, we fabricate and characterize an energy-efficient anomalous Hall sensor based on soft-magnetic FexPt1−x thin films with a large anomalous Hall angle. By varying the composition of the FexPt1−x alloy, its layer thickness and interfacial materials, the magnetization is tuned to be near the spin transition between the perpendicular and in-plane reorientations. We performed magneto-transport and noise characterizations on anomalous Hall sensors with a small sensing area of 20 × 20 µm2 in the 180 to 350 K temperature range. We found the best performance in a 1.25-nm-thick Fe0.48Pt0.52 sandwiched by two 1.6-nm-thick MgO layers at room temperature.more »The sensor has a large anomalous Hall angle of 1.95%. Moreover, it has the best field detectability of 237.5 nT/√Hz at 1 Hz and 15.3 nT/√Hz at 10 kHz, as well as a high dynamic reserve of 112.0 dB. These results suggest that the FexPt1−x alloy system is suitable for energy-efficient anomalous Hall sensors, particularly in micro-sensing applications.« less