Current-induced magnetization switching using an electrically insulating spin-torque generator

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  23 Feb 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 2, eaar2250
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aar2250

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text


Current-induced magnetization switching through spin-orbit torques is the fundamental building block of spin-orbitronics, which promises high-performance, low-power memory and logic devices. The spin-orbit torques generally arise from spin-orbit coupling of heavy metals. However, even in a heterostructure where a metallic magnet is sandwiched by two different insulators, a nonzero spin-orbit torque is expected because of the broken inversion symmetry; an electrical insulator can be a source of the spin-orbit torques. We demonstrate current-induced magnetization switching using an insulator. We show that oxygen incorporation into the most widely used spintronic material, Pt, turns the heavy metal into an electrically insulating generator of the spin-orbit torques, which enables the electrical switching of perpendicular magnetization in a ferrimagnet sandwiched by insulating oxides. We also show that the spin-orbit torques generated from the Pt oxide can be controlled electrically through voltage-driven oxygen migration. These findings open a route toward energy-efficient, voltage-programmable spin-orbit devices based on insulating metal oxides.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text