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  1. The orbital component of magnetization dynamics, e.g., excited by ferromagnetic resonance (FMR), may generate “orbitronic” effects in nanomagnetic devices. Yet, distinguishing orbital dynamics from spin dynamics remains a challenge. Here, we employ x-ray magnetic circular dichroism (XMCD) to quantify the ratio between the orbital and spin components of FMR-induced dynamics in a Ni80Fe20 film. By applying the XMCD sum rules at the Ni L3,2 edges, we obtain an orbital-to-spin ratio of 0.108 ± 0.005 for the dynamic magnetization. This value is consistent with 0.102 ± 0.008 for the static magnetization, probed with the same x-ray beam configuration as the dynamic XMCD experiment. The demonstrated method presents a possible path to disentangle orbitronic effects from their spintronic counterparts in magnetic media.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 18, 2025
  2. An electrically conductive metal typically transmits or absorbs a spin current. Here, we report on evidence that interfacing two metal thin films can suppress spin transmission and absorption. We examine spin pumping in spin-source/spacer/spin-sink heterostructures, where the spacer consists of metallic Cu and Cr thin films. The Cu/Cr spacer largely suppresses spin pumping—i.e., neither transmitting nor absorbing a significant amount of spin current—even though Cu or Cr alone transmits a sizable spin current. The antiferromagnetism of Cr is not essential for the suppression of spin pumping, as we observe similar suppression with Cu/V spacers with V as a nonmagnetic analog of Cr. We speculate that diverse combinations of spin-transparent metals may form interfaces that suppress spin pumping, although the underlying mechanism remains unclear. Our work may stimulate a new perspective on spin transport in metallic multilayers.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2024
  3. 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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