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      Fast Low-Current Spin-Orbit-Torque Switching of Magnetic Tunnel Junctions through Atomic Modifications of the Free-Layer Interfaces

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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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            Is Open Access

            Spin torque switching with the giant spin Hall effect of tantalum

            We report a giant spin Hall effect (SHE) in {\beta}-Ta that generates spin currents intense enough to induce efficient spin-transfer-torque switching of ferromagnets, thereby providing a new approach for controlling magnetic devices that can be superior to existing technologies. We quantify this SHE by three independent methods and demonstrate spin-torque (ST) switching of both out-of-plane and in-plane magnetized layers. We implement a three-terminal device that utilizes current passing through a low impedance Ta-ferromagnet bilayer to effect switching of a nanomagnet, with a higher-impedance magnetic tunnel junction for read-out. The efficiency and reliability of this device, together with its simplicity of fabrication, suggest that this three-terminal SHE-ST design can eliminate the main obstacles currently impeding the development of magnetic memory and non-volatile spin logic technologies.
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              Is Open Access

              Current-driven Magnetization Reversal and Spin Wave Excitations in Co/Cu/Co Pillars

              Using thin film pillars ~100 nm in diameter, containing two ferromagnetic Co layers of different thicknesses separated by a paramagnetic Cu spacer, we examine effects of torques due to spin-polarized currents flowing perpendicular to the layers. In accordance with spin-transfer theory, spin-polarized electrons flowing from the thin to the thick Co layer can switch the magnetic moments of the layers antiparallel, while a reversed electron flow causes switching to a parallel state. When large magnetic fields are applied, the current no longer fully reverses the magnetic moment, but instead stimulates spin-wave excitations.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                PRAHB2
                Physical Review Applied
                Phys. Rev. Applied
                American Physical Society (APS)
                2331-7019
                January 2018
                January 30 2018
                : 9
                : 1
                Article
                10.1103/PhysRevApplied.9.011002
                © 2018

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