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Current-driven dynamics of chiral ferromagnetic domain walls


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      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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      Nature Materials 12, 611 (2013)
      cond-mat.mtrl-sci cond-mat.mes-hall

      Condensed matter, Nanophysics


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