Spintronics evolves along new paths involving non-magnetic materials having large spin-obit coupling, typically 5d metals, allowing for example large spin-to-charge current conversion (spin Hall and Rashba-Edelstein effects). These heavy metals have other effects: in proximity of magnetic thin films they can burst out the Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction leading to the stabilization of chiral magnetic structures. Another source of recent interest relies on “non-trivial topologies”, either of the band structure of the topological insulators, or of the spin textures in magnetic thin films.
We will discuss our recent progress to control the topological textures known as skyrmions in multilayers made of heavy metals and magnetic layers. Aiming at using skyrmions as magnetic bits in “racetrack memory” structures, one of the present challenges is to efficiently move skyrmions with dimensions of a few tens of nanometers. The topology of these magnetic structures imposes peculiar dynamics, interesting both in fundamental and applied perspectives. Simulations indicate that spin-orbit torques, through the absorption of the spin current generated by a nearby layer, should be the most efficient method. The conducting surfaces of topological insulators at which the carriers’ spin and momentum are locked, can display better spin-to-charge conversion than what is found using heavy metals. However, the control of the interfaces is crucial to conserve the Dirac cone and the associated spin-momentum locking. We demonstrate by ARPES and spin pumping experiments how the properties of the α-Sn thin film topological insulator are preserved and can be used for spintronics, maybe to move skyrmions!
Nicolas Reyren, Davide Maccariello, Juan-Carlos Rojas-Sánchez, Constance Moreau-Luchaire, Simon Oyarzun, Yu Fu, Alain Marty, Céline Vergnaud, Serge Gambarelli, Laurent Vila, Matthieu Jamet, Yoshiyuki Ohtsubo, Amina Taleb-Ibrahimi, Patrick Le Fèvre, François Bertran, Christoforos Moutafis, João Sampaio, Carlos A. F. Vaz, Noah Van Horne, Karim Bouzehouane, Karin Garcia, Cyrile Deranlot, Peter Warnicke, Phillip Wohlhüter, Markus Weigand, Jörg Raabe, Vincent Cros, Jean-Marie George, and Albert Fert, "Topological spin-orbitronics
(Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9931, Spintronics IX, 99312P (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 31, 2016; Published: 4 November 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2238958.5166910683001.
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