Spin-orbit torque switching without an external field using interlayer exchange coupling

Yong Chang Lau, Davide Betto, Karsten Rode, J. M.D. Coey, Plamen Stamenov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

256 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Manipulation of the magnetization of a perpendicular ferromagnetic free layer by spin-orbit torque (SOT) is an attractive alternative to spin-transfer torque (STT) in oscillators and switches such as magnetic random-access memory (MRAM) where a high current is passed across an ultrathin tunnel barrier. A small symmetry-breaking bias field is usually needed for deterministic SOT switching but it is impractical to generate the field externally for spintronic applications. Here, we demonstrate robust zero-field SOT switching of a perpendicular CoFe free layer where the symmetry is broken by magnetic coupling to a second in-plane exchange-biased CoFe layer via a nonmagnetic Ru or Pt spacer. The preferred magnetic state of the free layer is determined by the current polarity and the sign of the interlayer exchange coupling (IEC). Our strategy offers a potentially scalable solution to realize bias-field-free switching that can lead to a generation of SOT devices, combining a high storage density and endurance with a low power consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)758-762
Number of pages5
JournalNature Nanotechnology
Volume11
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Sep 7
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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