Research ArticlePHYSICS

Giant facet-dependent spin-orbit torque and spin Hall conductivity in the triangular antiferromagnet IrMn3

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Science Advances  30 Sep 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 9, e1600759
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600759

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There has been considerable interest in spin-orbit torques for the purpose of manipulating the magnetization of ferromagnetic elements for spintronic technologies. Spin-orbit torques are derived from spin currents created from charge currents in materials with significant spin-orbit coupling that propagate into an adjacent ferromagnetic material. A key challenge is to identify materials that exhibit large spin Hall angles, that is, efficient charge-to-spin current conversion. Using spin torque ferromagnetic resonance, we report the observation of a giant spin Hall angle Embedded Image of up to ~0.35 in (001)-oriented single-crystalline antiferromagnetic IrMn3 thin films, coupled to ferromagnetic permalloy layers, and a Embedded Image that is about three times smaller in (111)-oriented films. For (001)-oriented samples, we show that the magnitude of Embedded Image can be significantly changed by manipulating the populations of various antiferromagnetic domains through perpendicular field annealing. We identify two distinct mechanisms that contribute to Embedded Image: the first mechanism, which is facet-independent, arises from conventional bulk spin-dependent scattering within the IrMn3 layer, and the second intrinsic mechanism is derived from the unconventional antiferromagnetic structure of IrMn3. Using ab initio calculations, we show that the triangular magnetic structure of IrMn3 gives rise to a substantial intrinsic spin Hall conductivity that is much larger for the (001) than for the (111) orientation, consistent with our experimental findings.

  • Spintronics
  • spin Hall conductivity
  • spin orbit torque
  • spin Hall angle
  • spin orbitronics
  • IrMn3
  • triangular antiferromagnet
  • antiferromagnet

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