Current-induced magnetization switching using an electrically insulating spin-torque generator

Hongyu An, Takeo Ohno, Yusuke Kanno, Yuito Kageyama, Yasuaki Monnai, Hideyuki Maki, Ji Shi, Kazuya Ando

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


Current-induced magnetization switching through spin-orbit torques is the fundamental building block of spinorbitronics, which promises high-performance, low-power memory and logic devices. The spin-orbit torques generally arise from spin-orbit coupling of heavy metals. However, even in a heterostructure where a metallic magnet is sandwiched by two different insulators, a nonzero spin-orbit torque is expected because of the broken inversion symmetry; an electrical insulator can be a source of the spin-orbit torques. We demonstrate current-induced magnetization switching using an insulator. We show that oxygen incorporation into the most widely used spintronic material, Pt, turns the heavy metal into an electrically insulating generator of the spin-orbit torques, which enables the electrical switching of perpendicular magnetization in a ferrimagnet sandwiched by insulating oxides. We also show that the spin-orbit torques generated from the Pt oxide can be controlled electrically through voltage-driven oxygen migration. These findings open a route toward energy-efficient, voltage-programmable spin-orbit devices based on insulating metal oxides.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaar2250
JournalScience Advances
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb 23

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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