Observation of Thermal Spin-Orbit Torque in W/CoFeB/MgO Structures

Jeong Mok Kim, Dong Jun Kim, Cheol Yeon Cheon, Kyoung Woong Moon, Changsoo Kim, Phuoc Cao Van, Jong Ryul Jeong, Chanyong Hwang, Kyung Jin Lee, Byong Guk Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Coupling of spin and heat currents enables the spin Nernst effect, the thermal generation of spin currents in nonmagnets that have strong spin-orbit interaction. Analogous to the spin Hall effect that electrically generates spin currents and associated electrical spin-orbit torques (SOTs), the spin Nernst effect can exert thermal SOTs on an adjacent magnetic layer and control the magnetization direction. Here, the thermal SOT caused by the spin Nernst effect is experimentally demonstrated in W/CoFeB/MgO structures. It is found that an in-plane temperature gradient across the sample generates a magnetic torque and modulates the switching field of the perpendicularly magnetized CoFeB. The W thickness dependence suggests that the torque originates mainly from thermal spin currents induced in W. Moreover, the thermal SOT reduces the critical current for SOT-induced magnetization switching, demonstrating that it can be utilized to control the magnetization in spintronic devices.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNano Letters
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


  • spin Nernst effect
  • spin current
  • spintronics
  • thermal spin-orbit torque

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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