While induced polarization of a palladium overlayer on antiferromagnetic and magneto-electric Cr2O3(0001) is possible because of the boundary polarization at the Cr2O3(0001), in the single domain state, the palladium (Pd) thin film appears to be ferromagnetic on its own, likely as a result of strain. In the conduction band, we find the experimental evidence of ferromagnetic spin polarized in Pd thin films on a Cr2O3(0001) single crystal, especially in the thin limit, Pd thickness of around 1-4 nm. Indeed there is significant spin polarization in 10 Å thick Pd films on Cr2O3(0001) at 310 K, i.e. above the Néel temperature of bulk Cr2O3. While Cr2O3(0001) has surface moments that tend to align along the surface normal, for Pd on Cr2O3, the spin polarization contains an in-plane component. Strain in the Pd adlayer on Cr2O3(0001) appears correlated to the spin polarization measured in spin polarized inverse photoemission spectroscopy. Further evidence for magnetization of Pd on Cr2O3is provided by measurement of the exchange bias fields in Cr2O3/Pd(buffer)/[Co/Pd]n exchange bias systems. The magnitude of the exchange bias field is, over a wide temperature range, virtually unaffected by the Pd thickness variation between 1 and 2 nm.
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In ferromagnetic metals, transverse spin currents are thought to be absorbed via dephasing—i.e., destructive interference of spins precessing about the strong exchange field. Yet, due to the ultrashort coherence length of ≈1 nm in typical ferromagnetic thin films, it is difficult to distinguish dephasing in the bulk from spin-flip scattering at the interface. Here, to assess which mechanism dominates, we examine transverse spin-current absorption in ferromagnetic NiCu alloy films with reduced exchange fields. We observe that the coherence length increases with decreasing Curie temperature, as weaker dephasing in the film bulk slows down spin absorption. Moreover, nonmagnetic Cu impurities do not diminish the efficiency of spin-transfer torque from the absorbed spin current. Our findings affirm that the transverse spin current is predominantly absorbed by dephasing inside the nanometer-thick ferromagnetic metals, even with high impurity contents.
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- Applied Physics Letters
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- Article No. 222403
- American Institute of Physics
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- National Science Foundation
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