Spin-transfer torque generated by a topological insulator

Handle URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10754/563657
Title:
Spin-transfer torque generated by a topological insulator
Authors:
Mellnik, A. R.; Lee, Joonsue; Richardella, Anthony R.; Grab, J. L.; Mintun, P. J.; Fischer, Mark H.; Vaezi, Abolhassan; Manchon, Aurelien ( 0000-0002-4768-293X ) ; Kim, Eunah; Samarth, Nitin S.; Ralph, Daniel C.
Abstract:
Magnetic devices are a leading contender for the implementation of memory and logic technologies that are non-volatile, that can scale to high density and high speed, and that do not wear out. However, widespread application of magnetic memory and logic devices will require the development of efficient mechanisms for reorienting their magnetization using the least possible current and power. There has been considerable recent progress in this effort; in particular, it has been discovered that spin-orbit interactions in heavy-metal/ferromagnet bilayers can produce strong current-driven torques on the magnetic layer, via the spin Hall effect in the heavy metal or the Rashba-Edelstein effect in the ferromagnet. In the search for materials to provide even more efficient spin-orbit-induced torques, some proposals have suggested topological insulators, which possess a surface state in which the effects of spin-orbit coupling are maximal in the sense that an electron' s spin orientation is fixed relative to its propagation direction. Here we report experiments showing that charge current flowing in-plane in a thin film of the topological insulator bismuth selenide (Bi2Se3) at room temperature can indeed exert a strong spin-transfer torque on an adjacent ferromagnetic permalloy (Ni81Fe19) thin film, with a direction consistent with that expected from the topological surface state. We find that the strength of the torque per unit charge current density in Bi 2Se3 is greater than for any source of spin-transfer torque measured so far, even for non-ideal topological insulator films in which the surface states coexist with bulk conduction. Our data suggest that topological insulators could enable very efficient electrical manipulation of magnetic materials at room temperature, for memory and logic applications. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
KAUST Department:
Physical Sciences and Engineering (PSE) Division; Materials Science and Engineering Program; Spintronics Theory Group
Publisher:
Springer Nature
Journal:
Nature
Issue Date:
23-Jul-2014
DOI:
10.1038/nature13534
Type:
Article
ISSN:
00280836
Sponsors:
We thank R. Buhrman, C.-F. Pai, N. Reynolds, J. Gibbons, A. Alemi and M. Bierbaum for discussions and assistance with experiments. Work at Cornell and Penn State was supported by DARPA (N66001-11-1-4110). We acknowledge additional funding for work at Cornell from the NSF/MRSEC-funded Cornell Center for Materials Research (DMR-1120296), the Army Research Office (W911NF-08-2-0032) and the NSF (DMR-1010768), and for work at Penn State from the Office of Naval Research (N00014-12-1-0117). A.R.M. acknowledges a DOE Office of Science graduate fellowship and J.L.G. acknowledges an NSF graduate fellowship. J.S.L. and N.S. acknowledge partial support through C-SPIN, one of six centres of STARnet, a Semiconductor Research Corporation program, sponsored by MARCO and DARPA. This work was performed in part at the Cornell NanoScale Facility and the Penn State Nanofabrication Facility, both nodes of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN), which is supported by the NSF (ECS-0335765), and in the facilities of the Cornell Center for Materials Research.
Appears in Collections:
Articles; Physical Sciences and Engineering (PSE) Division; Spintronics Theory Group; Materials Science and Engineering Program

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorMellnik, A. R.en
dc.contributor.authorLee, Joonsueen
dc.contributor.authorRichardella, Anthony R.en
dc.contributor.authorGrab, J. L.en
dc.contributor.authorMintun, P. J.en
dc.contributor.authorFischer, Mark H.en
dc.contributor.authorVaezi, Abolhassanen
dc.contributor.authorManchon, Aurelienen
dc.contributor.authorKim, Eunahen
dc.contributor.authorSamarth, Nitin S.en
dc.contributor.authorRalph, Daniel C.en
dc.date.accessioned2015-08-03T12:05:10Zen
dc.date.available2015-08-03T12:05:10Zen
dc.date.issued2014-07-23en
dc.identifier.issn00280836en
dc.identifier.doi10.1038/nature13534en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/563657en
dc.description.abstractMagnetic devices are a leading contender for the implementation of memory and logic technologies that are non-volatile, that can scale to high density and high speed, and that do not wear out. However, widespread application of magnetic memory and logic devices will require the development of efficient mechanisms for reorienting their magnetization using the least possible current and power. There has been considerable recent progress in this effort; in particular, it has been discovered that spin-orbit interactions in heavy-metal/ferromagnet bilayers can produce strong current-driven torques on the magnetic layer, via the spin Hall effect in the heavy metal or the Rashba-Edelstein effect in the ferromagnet. In the search for materials to provide even more efficient spin-orbit-induced torques, some proposals have suggested topological insulators, which possess a surface state in which the effects of spin-orbit coupling are maximal in the sense that an electron' s spin orientation is fixed relative to its propagation direction. Here we report experiments showing that charge current flowing in-plane in a thin film of the topological insulator bismuth selenide (Bi2Se3) at room temperature can indeed exert a strong spin-transfer torque on an adjacent ferromagnetic permalloy (Ni81Fe19) thin film, with a direction consistent with that expected from the topological surface state. We find that the strength of the torque per unit charge current density in Bi 2Se3 is greater than for any source of spin-transfer torque measured so far, even for non-ideal topological insulator films in which the surface states coexist with bulk conduction. Our data suggest that topological insulators could enable very efficient electrical manipulation of magnetic materials at room temperature, for memory and logic applications. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.en
dc.description.sponsorshipWe thank R. Buhrman, C.-F. Pai, N. Reynolds, J. Gibbons, A. Alemi and M. Bierbaum for discussions and assistance with experiments. Work at Cornell and Penn State was supported by DARPA (N66001-11-1-4110). We acknowledge additional funding for work at Cornell from the NSF/MRSEC-funded Cornell Center for Materials Research (DMR-1120296), the Army Research Office (W911NF-08-2-0032) and the NSF (DMR-1010768), and for work at Penn State from the Office of Naval Research (N00014-12-1-0117). A.R.M. acknowledges a DOE Office of Science graduate fellowship and J.L.G. acknowledges an NSF graduate fellowship. J.S.L. and N.S. acknowledge partial support through C-SPIN, one of six centres of STARnet, a Semiconductor Research Corporation program, sponsored by MARCO and DARPA. This work was performed in part at the Cornell NanoScale Facility and the Penn State Nanofabrication Facility, both nodes of the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN), which is supported by the NSF (ECS-0335765), and in the facilities of the Cornell Center for Materials Research.en
dc.publisherSpringer Natureen
dc.titleSpin-transfer torque generated by a topological insulatoren
dc.typeArticleen
dc.contributor.departmentPhysical Sciences and Engineering (PSE) Divisionen
dc.contributor.departmentMaterials Science and Engineering Programen
dc.contributor.departmentSpintronics Theory Groupen
dc.identifier.journalNatureen
dc.contributor.institutionCornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, United Statesen
dc.contributor.institutionDepartment of Physics, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, United Statesen
dc.contributor.institutionWeizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israelen
dc.contributor.institutionKavli Institute at Cornell, Ithaca, NY 14853, United Statesen
kaust.authorManchon, Aurelienen
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