"Time-resolved x-ray imaging of magnetization dynamics in spin-transfer torque devices"

V. Chembrolu: J. P. Strachan, X. W. Yu, A. A. Tulapurkar, T. Tyliszczak, J. A. Katine, M. J. Carey, J. Stöhr, and Y. Acremann; Phys. Rev. B, 07/20/09.

Additional Authors: J. P. Strachan, X. W. Yu, A. A. Tulapurkar, T. Tyliszczak, J. A. Katine, M. J. Carey, J. Stöhr, and Y. Acremann

Abstract:

Time-resolved x-ray imaging techniques have recently demonstrated the capability to probe the magnetic switching of nanoscale devices. This technique has enabled, for example, the direct observation of the nonuniform intermediate states assumed by the magnetic free layer during reversal by a spin-polarized current. These experiments have shown an interesting size-dependent behavior associated with the motion of vortices to mediate the magnetization reversal which cannot be explained by the macrospin picture of spin-torque switching. In this paper we present both experimental and analytical results which show the origin of the complex switching behavior. We use time-resolved x-ray microscopy to further study the switching behavior of samples with 45° angle between the free and polarizing magnetic layers. A model is developed in terms of a linearized Landau-Lifshitz-Gilbert equation showing that the initial dynamics is dominated by the balance between the Oersted field and thermal fluctuations. The spin torque amplifies this dynamics, leading to a strong sensitivity to sample size, angle, and temperature. The model is in good agreement with current and previous experimental observations.