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Spin–orbit torque switching of a ferromagnet with picosecond electrical pulses

  • Author(s): Jhuria, K;
  • Hohlfeld, J;
  • Pattabi, A;
  • Martin, E;
  • Arriola Córdova, AY;
  • Shi, X;
  • Lo Conte, R;
  • Petit-Watelot, S;
  • Rojas-Sanchez, JC;
  • Malinowski, G;
  • Mangin, S;
  • Lemaître, A;
  • Hehn, M;
  • Bokor, J;
  • Wilson, RB;
  • Gorchon, J
  • et al.
Abstract

The development of approaches that can efficiently control the magnetization of magnetic materials is central to the creation of fast and low-power spintronic devices. Spin transfer torque can be used to electrically manipulate magnetic order in devices, but is typically limited to nanosecond timescales. Alternatively, spin–orbit torque can be employed, and switching with current pulses down to ~200 ps has been demonstrated. However, the upper limit to magnetization switching speed remains unestablished. Here, we show that photoconductive switches can be used to apply 6-ps-wide electrical pulses and deterministically switch the out-of-plane magnetization of a common thin cobalt film via spin–orbit torque. We probe the ultrafast magnetization dynamics due to spin–orbit torques with sub-picosecond resolution using the time-resolved magneto-optical Kerr effect (MOKE). We also estimate that the magnetization switching consumes less than 50 pJ in micrometre-sized devices.

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