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      Spin-Torque Switching with the Giant Spin Hall Effect of Tantalum

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      Science

      American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

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          A perpendicular-anisotropy CoFeB-MgO magnetic tunnel junction.

          Magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) with ferromagnetic electrodes possessing a perpendicular magnetic easy axis are of great interest as they have a potential for realizing next-generation high-density non-volatile memory and logic chips with high thermal stability and low critical current for current-induced magnetization switching. To attain perpendicular anisotropy, a number of material systems have been explored as electrodes, which include rare-earth/transition-metal alloys, L1(0)-ordered (Co, Fe)-Pt alloys and Co/(Pd, Pt) multilayers. However, none of them so far satisfy high thermal stability at reduced dimension, low-current current-induced magnetization switching and high tunnel magnetoresistance ratio all at the same time. Here, we use interfacial perpendicular anisotropy between the ferromagnetic electrodes and the tunnel barrier of the MTJ by employing the material combination of CoFeB-MgO, a system widely adopted to produce a giant tunnel magnetoresistance ratio in MTJs with in-plane anisotropy. This approach requires no material other than those used in conventional in-plane-anisotropy MTJs. The perpendicular MTJs consisting of Ta/CoFeB/MgO/CoFeB/Ta show a high tunnel magnetoresistance ratio, over 120%, high thermal stability at dimension as low as 40 nm diameter and a low switching current of 49 microA.
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            Current-induced spin orientation of electrons in semiconductors

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              Current-driven spin torque induced by the Rashba effect in a ferromagnetic metal layer.

              Methods to manipulate the magnetization of ferromagnets by means of local electric fields or current-induced spin transfer torque allow the design of integrated spintronic devices with reduced dimensions and energy consumption compared with conventional magnetic field actuation. An alternative way to induce a spin torque using an electric current has been proposed based on intrinsic spin-orbit magnetic fields and recently realized in a strained low-temperature ferromagnetic semiconductor. Here we demonstrate that strong magnetic fields can be induced in ferromagnetic metal films lacking structure inversion symmetry through the Rashba effect. Owing to the combination of spin-orbit and exchange interactions, we show that an electric current flowing in the plane of a Co layer with asymmetric Pt and AlO(x) interfaces produces an effective transverse magnetic field of 1 T per 10(8) A cm(-2). Besides its fundamental significance, the high efficiency of this process makes it a realistic candidate for room-temperature spintronic applications.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Science
                Science
                American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
                0036-8075
                1095-9203
                May 03 2012
                May 04 2012
                May 03 2012
                May 04 2012
                : 336
                : 6081
                : 555-558
                Article
                10.1126/science.1218197
                © 2012

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