In bilayer systems consisting of an ultrathin ferromagnetic layer adjacent to a metal with strong spin-orbit coupling, an applied in-plane current induces torques on the magnetization. The torques that arise from spin-orbit coupling are of particular interest. Here, we calculate the current-induced torque in a Pt-Co bilayer to help determine the underlying mechanism. The details of the torque depend strongly on the layer thicknesses and the interface structure, providing an explanation for the wide variation in results found by different groups. The torque depends on the magnetization direction in a way similar to that found for a simple Rashba model. Artificially turning off the exchange spin splitting and separately the spin-orbit coupling potential in the Pt shows that the primary source of the field-like torque is a proximate spin-orbit effect on the Co layer induced by the strong spin-orbit coupling in the Pt.
Citation: Physical Review B
Pub Type: Journals
Spin transfer torque, spin-orbit coupling