Angular dependence of spin-transfer switching in a magnetic nanostructure

Mancoff, F.B.; Dave, R.W.; Rizzo, N.D.; Eschrich, T.C.; Engel, B.N.; Tehrani, S.
August 2003
Applied Physics Letters;8/25/2003, Vol. 83 Issue 8, p1596
Academic Journal
We measured switching of a thin film nanomagnet driven by spin-polarized current in giant magnetoresistance spin valves as small as 50 nm×100 nm. Spin-transfer reversal is observed in both dc current and magnetic field sweeps, with a switching current of ∼5 mA, for example, for a bit with ∼900 Oe switching field in zero current. We studied the dependence of spin-transfer switching on the relative angle [lowercase_phi_synonym] between the layer magnetizations by using a magnetic field to orient the magnetization of a bulk magnetic layer at an angle to a patterned layer held in place by shape anisotropy. The critical current is a minimum for collinear magnetizations and diverges as 1/|cos [lowercase_phi_synonym]| as [lowercase_phi_synonym] increases to 90°, consistent with switching current calculations using the Slonczewski spin-transfer torque model. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.


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