Enhanced spin-orbit torques in Pt/Co/Ta heterostructures

TitleEnhanced spin-orbit torques in Pt/Co/Ta heterostructures
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsWoo, S, Mann, M, Tan, AJun, Caretta, L, Beach, GSD
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Date Published2014/11/24/

Spin-orbit torques (SOTs) are studied in perpendicularly magnetized ultrathin Co films sandwiched between two heavy metals, Pt and Ta. A significant enhancement of the Slonczewski-like torque is achieved by placing dissimilar metals with opposite spin Hall angles on opposite sides of the ferromagnet. SOTs were characterized through harmonic measurements and the contribution by the Ta overlayer was isolated by systematically varying its thickness. An effective spin Hall angle of up to 34% is observed, along with a sizable field-like torque that increases with increasing Ta layer thickness. Current-induced switching measurements reveal a corresponding increase in switching efficiency, suggesting that by engineering both interfaces in trilayer structures, the SOTs can be significantly improved. (C) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.