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Field-free switching of perpendicular magnetization through spin-orbit torque in antiferromagnet/ferromagnet/oxide structures



Young-Wan Oh, Young Min Kim, Hae Yeon Lee, Kyeong-Dong Lee, Chang-Geun Yang, Eun-Sang Park, Ki-Sueng Lee, Kyoung-Whan Kim, Hyun-Woo Lee, Kyung-Jin Lee, Byong-Guk Park


Spin-orbit torques (SOTs), spin-transfer torques caused by spin-orbit coupling, allow highly efficient manipulation of magnetization. To date, most experiments have utilized non-magnetic heavy metals as a source of SOT. Recent prediction of the anomalous Hall effect and observations of the inverse spin Hall effect in antiferromagnets imply that antiferromagnets can serve as alternatives to heavy metals. However, SOTs originating from antiferromagnetsand the corresponding SOT-induced switching of ferrromagnets in contact with antiferromagnetshave not yet been reported. Here, we show sizable SOTs in IrMn/CoFeB/MgO structures. When combined with exchange-bias at the IrMn/CoFeB interface, these SOTs give field-free, deterministic switching of perpendicular magnetization. Such switching is of critical importance for practical applications. Our measurement of the sign of SOT in various IrMn-based structures suggests that the SOTs originating from antiferromagnets are not be described by existing theories, demanding further theoretical developments beyond the current understanding of SOT physics.
Nature Nanotechnology


spin-orbit torque, antiferromagnet, spin-transfer torque, magnetic switching, symmetry breaking, exchange bias, magnetic multilayers


Oh, Y. , Kim, Y. , Lee, H. , Lee, K. , Yang, C. , Park, E. , Lee, K. , Kim, K. , Lee, H. , Lee, K. and Park, B. (2016), Field-free switching of perpendicular magnetization through spin–orbit torque in antiferromagnet/ferromagnet/oxide structures, Nature Nanotechnology, [online],, (Accessed April 23, 2024)
Created July 10, 2016, Updated October 12, 2021