Field-free switching of perpendicular magnetization through spin-orbit torque in antiferromagnet/ferromagnet/oxide structures

Young Wan Oh, Seung Heon Chris Baek, Y. M. Kim, Hae Yeon Lee, Kyeong Dong Lee, Chang Geun Yang, Eun Sang Park, Ki Seung Lee, Kyoung Whan Kim, Gyungchoon Go, Jong Ryul Jeong, Byoung Chul Min, Hyun Woo Lee, Kyung Jin Lee, Byong Guk Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

373 Citations (Scopus)


Spin-orbit torques arising from the spin-orbit coupling of non-magnetic heavy metals allow electrical switching of perpendicular magnetization. However, the switching is not purely electrical in laterally homogeneous structures. An extra in-plane magnetic field is indeed required to achieve deterministic switching, and this is detrimental for device applications. On the other hand, if antiferromagnets can generate spin-orbit torques, they may enable all-electrical deterministic switching because the desired magnetic field may be replaced by their exchange bias. Here we report sizeable spin-orbit torques in IrMn/CoFeB/MgO structures. The antiferromagnetic IrMn layer also supplies an in-plane exchange bias field, which enables all-electrical deterministic switching of perpendicular magnetization without any assistance from an external magnetic field. Together with sizeable spin-orbit torques, these features make antiferromagnets a promising candidate for future spintronic devices. We also show that the signs of the spin-orbit torques in various IrMn-based structures cannot be explained by existing theories and thus significant theoretical progress is required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)878-884
Number of pages7
JournalNature Nanotechnology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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