Thermal spin-transfer torque driven by the spin-dependent Seebeck effect in metallic spin-valves

Gyung Min Choi, Chul Hyun Moon, Byoung Chul Min, Kyung Jin Lee, David G. Cahill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Citations (Scopus)


The coupling of spin and heat gives rise to new physical phenomena in nanoscale spin devices. In particular, spin-transfer torque (STT) driven by thermal transport provides a new way to manipulate local magnetization. We quantify thermal STT in metallic spin-valve structures using an intense and ultrafast heat current created by picosecond pulses of laser light. Our result shows that thermal STT consists of demagnetization-driven and spin-dependent Seebeck effect (SDSE)-driven components; the SDSE-driven STT becomes dominant after 3 ps. The sign and magnitude of the SDSE-driven STT can be controlled by the composition of a ferromagnetic layer and the thickness of a heat sink layer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)576-581
Number of pages6
JournalNature Physics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jul 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
TDTR and TR-MOKE measurements were carried out in the Laser and Spectroscopy Laboratory of the Materials Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Sample growth and VSM measurements were carried out at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST). G-M.C. and D.G.C. were supported by the Army Research Office MURI W911NF-14-1-0016. C-H.M. and B-C.M. were supported by the KIST institutional program and the Pioneer Research Center Program of MSIP/NRF (2011-0027905). K-J.L. was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIP) (NRF-2013R1A2A2A01013188) and the KU-KIST Graduate School of Converging Science and Technology Program.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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