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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 24, 2023
  2. 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.
  3. 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 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.
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 17, 2022