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3 September 2010 Spin-orbit torques in ultrathin ferromagnetic metal layers
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The spin-orbit interaction constitutes a weak but essential perturbation to the Hamiltonian of magnetic systems. Linking spins with atomic structure, spin-orbit coupling assumes a prominent role in structures of reduced dimensionality, where it defines the internal anisotropy fields. In this paper, we discuss interface-enhanced spinorbit effects that arise in metallic multilayers in the presence of an electric current. We demonstrate that a novel type of spin torque 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 electrons flowing in the plane of a Co layer with asymmetric Pt and AlOx interfaces produce an effective transverse magnetic field of 1 T per 108 A/cm2 of applied current. This torque does not require a current flowing through noncollinear magnetic structures, opening new perspectives for room temperature applications in spintronics.
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Ioan Mihai Miron, Gilles Gaudin, Stéphane Auffret, Bernard Rodmacq, Alain Schuhl, Stefania Pizzini, Jan Vogel, and Pietro Gambardella "Spin-orbit torques in ultrathin ferromagnetic metal layers", Proc. SPIE 7760, Spintronics III, 77600Z (3 September 2010);

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