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Ab Initio Studies of the Spin-Transfer Torque in Tunnel Junctions



Christian Heiliger, Mark D. Stiles


We calculate the spin-transfer torque in Fe/MgO/Fe tunnel junctions and analyze the results in comparison to all-metallic junctions. We show that the spin-transfer torque is interfacial in the ferromagnetic layer to a greater degree than in spin-valve systems. This result originates in the half metallic behavior of Fe for the Δ sub 1 states at the Brillouin zone center; in contrast to all-metallic structures dephasing does not play an important role. We further show that it is possible to get a component of the torque that is out of the plane of the magnetizations and which is linear in the bias. However, observation of such a torque requires highly ideal samples.
Physical Review Letters


electronic structure, Fe/MgO/Fe, magnetic random access memory, magnetotransport, spin transfer torque, tunnel junctions


Heiliger, C. and Stiles, M. (2008), Ab Initio Studies of the Spin-Transfer Torque in Tunnel Junctions, Physical Review Letters, [online], (Accessed June 14, 2024)


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Created May 9, 2008, Updated February 19, 2017