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Modification of perpendicular magnetic anisotropy and domain wall velocity in Pt/Co/Pt by voltage-induced strain

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      Abstract

      The perpendicular magnetic anisotropy Keff, magnetization reversal, and field-driven domain wall velocity in the creep regime are modified in Pt/Co(0.85–1.0 nm)/Pt thin films by strain applied via piezoelectric transducers. Keff, measured by the extraordinary Hall effect, is reduced by 10 kJ/m3 by tensile strain out-of-plane εz = 9 × 10−4, independently of the film thickness, indicating a dominant volume contribution to the magnetostriction. The same strain reduces the coercive field by 2–4 Oe, and increases the domain wall velocity measured by wide-field Kerr microscopy by 30-100%, with larger changes observed for thicker Co layers. We consider how strain-induced changes in the perpendicular magnetic anisotropy can modify the coercive field and domain wall velocity.

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      Current-driven dynamics of chiral ferromagnetic domain walls

      In most ferromagnets the magnetization rotates from one domain to the next with no preferred handedness. However, broken inversion symmetry can lift the chiral degeneracy, leading to topologically-rich spin textures such as spin-spirals and skyrmions via the Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction (DMI). Here we show that in ultrathin metallic ferromagnets sandwiched between a heavy metal and an oxide, the DMI stabilizes chiral domain walls (DWs) whose spin texture enables extremely efficient current-driven motion. We show that spin torque from the spin Hall effect drives DWs in opposite directions in Pt/CoFe/MgO and Ta/CoFe/MgO, which can be explained only if the DWs assume a N\'eel configuration with left-handed chirality. We directly confirm the DW chirality and rigidity by examining current-driven DW dynamics with magnetic fields applied perpendicular and parallel to the spin spiral. This work resolves the origin of controversial experimental results and highlights a new path towards interfacial design of spintronic devices.
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        Fast current-induced domain-wall motion controlled by the Rashba effect.

        The propagation of magnetic domain walls induced by spin-polarized currents has launched new concepts for memory and logic devices. A wave of studies focusing on permalloy (NiFe) nanowires has found evidence for high domain-wall velocities (100 m s(-1); refs,), but has also exposed the drawbacks of this phenomenon for applications. Often the domain-wall displacements are not reproducible, their depinning from a thermally stable position is difficult and the domain-wall structural instability (Walker breakdown) limits the maximum velocity. Here, we show that the combined action of spin-transfer and spin-orbit torques offers a comprehensive solution to these problems. In an ultrathin Co nanowire, integrated in a trilayer with structural inversion asymmetry (SIA), the high spin-torque efficiency facilitates the depinning and leads to high mobility, while the SIA-mediated Rashba field controlling the domain-wall chirality stabilizes the Bloch domain-wall structure. Thus, the high-mobility regime is extended to higher current densities, allowing domain-wall velocities up to 400 m s(-1). © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved
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          Electric-field control of magnetic domain wall motion and local magnetization reversal

          Spintronic devices currently rely on magnetic switching or controlled motion of domain walls by an external magnetic field or spin-polarized current. Achieving the same degree of magnetic controllability using an electric field has potential advantages including enhanced functionality and low power consumption. Here we report on an approach to electrically control local magnetic properties, including the writing and erasure of regular ferromagnetic domain patterns and the motion of magnetic domain walls, in CoFe-BaTiO3 heterostructures. Our method is based on recurrent strain transfer from ferroelastic domains in ferroelectric media to continuous magnetostrictive films with negligible magnetocrystalline anisotropy. Optical polarization microscopy of both ferromagnetic and ferroelectric domain structures reveals that domain correlations and strong inter-ferroic domain wall pinning persist in an applied electric field. This leads to an unprecedented electric controllability over the ferromagnetic microstructure, an accomplishment that produces giant magnetoelectric coupling effects and opens the way to electric-field driven spintronics.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leeds , Leeds, LS2 9JT, United Kingdom
            [2 ]School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nottingham , Nottingham, NG7 2RD, United Kingdom
            Author notes
            Journal
            Sci Rep
            Sci Rep
            Scientific Reports
            Nature Publishing Group
            2045-2322
            21 January 2015
            2015
            : 5
            25605499
            4300497
            srep07921
            10.1038/srep07921
            Copyright © 2015, Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved

            This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder in order to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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