November 07, 2022
Minneapolis, United States
Large interfacial Rashba interaction and giant spin orbit torque in atomically thin metallic multilayers
Spin-orbit interaction in metals and its ability to generate spin-current has been the hallmark of spintronics in the last decade. Beyond its fundamental interest as a source of spin-current, the manipulation of magnetization via transfer of the spin angular momentum has proven to be energy efficient for spin-based memory (e.g. SOT-MRAM) and also neuromorphic devices (e.g. using spin Hall nano-oscillators). Therein, charge to spin conversion is believed to be governed essentially by two main mechanisms, spin Hall effect in the bulk of heavy-metals and Rashba effect at interfaces 1, the latter being often considered negligible in all-metallic interfaces. However, in the case of atomically thin metallic layers, the underlying SOT physical mechanisms at play have not been experimentally fully tackled.
In this study, we examine the impact of the insertion of a light element interface on the nature of the SOT as well as its efficiency in terms of damping-like (HDL) and field-like (HFL) effective fields in ultrathin ferromagnets. Importantly, we observe unexpectedly large HFL/HDL ratio (∼2.5) upon inserting a 1.4 nm thin Al layer in Pt|Co|Al|Pt as compared to Cu instead of Al as shown in Fig. 1. From our modeling (dotted lines in Fig.1), these experimental results strongly evidence the presence of a large interfacial Rashba effect at Co|Al interface producing giant HFL. The occurrence of such enhanced torques from an interfacial origin is further validated by reducing the contribution from SHE in the bottom Pt layer as well as by demonstrating current-induced magnetization reversal at reduced current. We believe that our results are important from the application point of view as they provide a clear route for reaching ultimate spin-torque efficiency for the associated devices2.
Acknowledgement: DARPA TEE (MIPR no. HR0011831554), the Horizon2020 Framework Program of the European Commission under FET-Proactive Grant agreement No. 824123 (SKYTOP) and the the Agence Nationale de la Recherche, France, No. ANR-17-CE24-0025 (TOPSKY).
1 Manchon, A. et al., Rev. Mod. Phys. 91, (2019).
2 Krishnia S. et al., arXiv : 2205.08486.
Co thickness (tCo) dependence of (a) DL-SOT field and (b) FL-like SOT fields in Pt8|Co (tCo)|Al1.4|Pt3 (red ) and Pt8|Co (tCo)|Cu1.4|Pt3 (blue ) samples (c) ζ = HFL/HDL as a function of tCo.