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Room-temperature spin-orbit torque switching induced by a topological insulator

What Has Been Achieved:

The strongly spin-momentum coupled electronic states in topological insulators (TI) have been extensively pursued to realize efficient magnetic switching. However, previous studies show a large discrepancy of the charge-spin conversion efficiency. Moreover, current-induced magnetic switching with TI can only be observed at cryogenic temperatures. We report spin-orbit torque switching in a TI-ferrimagnet heterostructure with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy at room temperature. The obtained effective spin Hall angle of TI is substantially larger than the previously studied heavy metals.

 

Importance of Achievement:

Our results demonstrate robust charge-spin conversion in TI and provide a direct avenue towards applicable TI-based spintronic devices.

 

Unique Features of the MIP That Enabled Project:

MBE growth of high quality topological insulator thin films on GaAs substrates.

Publication: Han, J., Richardella, A., Siddiqui, S.A., Finley, J., Samarth, N. and Liu, L. (2017) Room-temperature spin-orbit torque switching induced by a topological insulator. Phys. Rev. Lett. 119, 077702.

Credits/Names: 
Jiahao Han, Saima A. Siddiqui, Joseph Finley, Luqiao Liu (MIT); A. Richardella, N. Samarth (Penn State)
Year of Research Highlight: 
2019
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