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A method to watch spin-orbit torque switching and alternate bias over time

Concept of the experiment: In a stroboscopic time-resolved pump-probe experiment, the dynamic response of the magnetization is probed upon the appliance of brief present pulses which induce so-called spin-orbit torques that result in switching of the magnetization. Credit: Wang et al

Magnetic random entry recollections (MRAMs), are among the many most promising next-generation reminiscence applied sciences. Their main benefits over typical laptop recollections and different rising reminiscence designs embrace their potential to realize remarkably excessive speeds and their non-volatility.

To maximize the pace and efficiency of MRAMs, engineers want to have the ability to examine their underlying mechanisms in nice depth, significantly the switching trajectories in ferromagnet/antiferromagnet exchange-biased constructions. So far, nevertheless, accessible strategies to watch these processes over time stay restricted.

Researchers at Technical University of Munich and Tsinghua University have just lately demonstrated the time-resolved detection of a spin-orbit torque switching of magnetization and alternate bias. The methodology they employed, outlined in Nature Electronics, is predicated on using superior magnetic microscopy instruments.

“To approach the highest possible writing speeds with MRAMs, in-depth knowledge concerning the magnetization switching process between ‘0’ and ‘1’ is indispensable,” Christian Back, one of many researchers who carried out the examine, advised TechXplore.

“However, the detection of magnetization switching has so far been limited to quasi-static experiments and nothing has been known concerning the timescales as well as the detailed writing process. Our group is specialized in time-resolved magnetic microscopy with high temporal resolution (1 picosecond temporal and about 300 nm spatial resolution), so it was natural for us to study such process in detail.”

The latest work by Back, Yuyan Wang and their colleagues builds on a number of earlier research, the place they used time-resolved magnetic microscopy strategies to look at easier constructions. In their present examine, they particularly used a stroboscopic pump-probe to watch the switching trajectory of a magnetic ingredient. This method allowed them to document a “magnetic movie” of the switching course of unfolding over time, with excessive temporal and spatial resolutions.

A strategy to monitor spin-orbit torque switching and exchange bias over time
Micromagnetic simulations of the time-resolved and spatial-resolved SOT switching course of. Credit: Wang et al

“In our case, the pump pulse is a current pulse sent through one of the layers of the prototype MRAM element and our probe pulse is a laser pulse that enables detection of the magnetic state,” Back defined. “We thus record switching trajectories or whole movies and compare them with realistic simulations of the whole magnetic element. This finally allows us to extract the relevant parameters for the switching process and allows us to make a firm statement on the switching process as a whole.”

By experimenting with the parameters of the present pulse they used, the researchers finally achieved multilevel switching of the magnetization and antiferromagnetic alternate bias on a sub-nanosecond timescale, two processes discovered to be linked with the formation of a number of area constructions on the antiferromagnetic interface. They additionally confirmed that the spin-orbit torque induced switching of alternate bias of their MRAM prototype might stabilize multi-level magnetization switching inside the brief present pulse, enhancing the system’s stability.

“We made significant progress concerning the investigation of spin dynamics of spin-orbit torque (SOT)-based memory devices with a time resolution much better than 100 ps,” Back stated. “By adopting time-resolved magneto-optical Kerr microscopy, combined with micromagnetic simulations, the authors discovered a multi-level switching process of the magnetization and exchange bias in SOT devices on sub-nanosecond timescales.”

The findings gathered by Back, Wang and their colleagues spotlight promising methods that might enable engineers to flexibly management the important thing processes underpinning the functioning of MRAM gadgets, finally enhancing their stability. In the longer term, their work might pave the best way in direction of the event of SOT-MRAM with multi-bits that may function at more and more quicker speeds, which might be significantly promising for neuromorphic computing and in-memory-computing purposes.

“We now plan to continue investigating the spin dynamics of the SOT-MRAM devices comprising new materials (e.g., 2D materials) and novel structures, to further improve their operation speed and reduce the power consumption,” Back added.

More info:
Yuyan Wang et al, Time-resolved detection of spin–orbit torque switching of magnetization and alternate bias, Nature Electronics (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41928-022-00870-3

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A method to watch spin-orbit torque switching and alternate bias over time (2022, December 20)
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