NIST logo

Publication Citation: Anatomy of Spin-Transfer Torque

NIST Authors in Bold

Author(s): Mark D. Stiles; A Zangwill;
Title: Anatomy of Spin-Transfer Torque
Published: July 01, 2002
Abstract: Spin-transfer torques occur in magnetic heterostructures because the transverse component of a spin current that flows from a non-magnet into a ferromagnet is absorbed at the interface. We demonstrate this fact explicitly using free electron models and first principles electronic structure calculations for real material interfaces. Three distinct processes contribute to the absorption: (1) spin-dependent reflection and transmission; (2) rotation of reflected and transmitted spins; and (3) spatial precession of spins in the ferromagnet. When summed over all Fermi surface electrons, these processes reduce the transverse component of the transmitted and reflected spin currents to nearly zero for most systems of interest. Therefore, to a good approximation, the torque on the magnetization is proportional to the transverse piece of the incoming spin current.
Citation: Physical Review B (Condensed Matter and Materials Physics)
Volume: 66
Issue: 014407
Pages: pp. 014407-1 - 014407-14
Keywords: angular momentum transfer;current-induced torque;interface electronic structure;Magnetic multiplayer;precession;reflection;spin current spin-dependent;spin-transfer;transverse-spin-current decay
Research Areas: Nanomagnetics
PDF version: PDF Document Click here to retrieve PDF version of paper (617KB)