Electric-field control of field-free spin-orbit torque switching via laterally modulated Rashba effect in Pt/Co/AlOx structures

Min Gu Kang, Jong Guk Choi, Jimin Jeong, Jae Yeol Park, Hyeon Jong Park, Taehwan Kim, Taekhyeon Lee, Kab Jin Kim, Kyoung Whan Kim, Jung Hyun Oh, Duc Duong Viet, Jong Ryul Jeong, Jong Min Yuk, Jongsun Park, Kyung Jin Lee, Byong Guk Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Spin-orbit coupling effect in structures with broken inversion symmetry, known as the Rashba effect, facilitates spin-orbit torques (SOTs) in heavy metal/ferromagnet/oxide structures, along with the spin Hall effect. Electric-field control of the Rashba effect is established for semiconductor interfaces, but it is challenging in structures involving metals owing to the screening effect. Here, we report that the Rashba effect in Pt/Co/AlOx structures is laterally modulated by electric voltages, generating out-of-plane SOTs. This enables field-free switching of the perpendicular magnetization and electrical control of the switching polarity. Changing the gate oxide reverses the sign of out-of-plane SOT while maintaining the same sign of voltage-controlled magnetic anisotropy, which confirms the Rashba effect at the Co/oxide interface is a key ingredient of the electric-field modulation. The electrical control of SOT switching polarity in a reversible and non-volatile manner can be utilized for programmable logic operations in spintronic logic-in-memory devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7111
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge discussion with Hyun-Woo Lee. B.-G.P., K.-J.L., & J.P. acknowledge support from Samsung Research Funding Center of Samsung Electronics under Project Number SRFC-MA1802-01. K.-W.K. acknowledges support from the KIST Institutional program.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Electric-field control of field-free spin-orbit torque switching via laterally modulated Rashba effect in Pt/Co/AlOx structures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this