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Adjustable Current-Induced Magnetization Switching Utilizing Interlayer Exchange Coupling

Sheng, Yu; Edmonds, Kevin; Ma, Xingqiao; Zheng, Houzhi; Wang, Kaiyou


Yu Sheng

Associate Professor & Reader in Physics

Xingqiao Ma

Houzhi Zheng

Kaiyou Wang


© 2018 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim Electrical current–induced deterministic magnetization switching in a magnetic multilayer structure without any external magnetic field is realized by utilizing interlayer exchange coupling. Two ferromagnetic Co layers, with in-plane and out-of-plane anisotropy, respectively, are separated by a spacer Ta layer, which plays a dual role in inducing antiferromagnetic interlayer coupling, and contributing to the current-induced effective magnetic field through the spin Hall effect. The current-induced magnetization switching behavior can be tuned by premagnetizing the in-plane Co layer. The antiferromagnetic exchange coupling field increases with decreasing thickness of the Ta layer, reaching 630 ± 5 Oe for a Ta thickness of 1.5 nm. A model is developed to separate the Joule heating and spin–orbit torques caused by the electrical current. The magnitude of the current-induced perpendicular effective magnetic field from spin–orbit torque is 9.2 Oe/(107 A cm−2). The large spin Hall angle of Ta, opposite in sign to that of Pt, results in a low critical current density of 9 × 106 A cm−2. This approach is promising for the electrical switching of magnetic memory elements without any external magnetic field.


Sheng, Y., Edmonds, K., Ma, X., Zheng, H., & Wang, K. (2018). Adjustable Current-Induced Magnetization Switching Utilizing Interlayer Exchange Coupling. Advanced Electronic Materials, 4(9), Article 1800224.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 10, 2018
Online Publication Date Jun 28, 2018
Publication Date Sep 30, 2018
Deposit Date Aug 23, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jun 29, 2019
Journal Advanced Electronic Materials
Electronic ISSN 2199-160X
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 4
Issue 9
Article Number 1800224
Keywords field-free switching, interlayer exchange coupling, spin-orbit torque, spintronic
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the peer reviewed version of the article, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.


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