Harnessing Orbital-to-Spin Conversion of Interfacial Orbital Currents for Efficient Spin-Orbit Torques
Shilei Ding, Andrew Ross, Dongwook Go, Lorenzo Baldrati, Zengyao Ren, Frank Freimuth, Sven Becker, Fabian Kammerbauer, Jinbo Yang, Gerhard Jakob, Yuriy Mokrousov, and Mathias Kläui
Phys. Rev. Lett. 125, 177201 – Published 22 October 2020
Current-induced spin-orbit torques (SOTs) allow for the efficient electrical manipulation of magnetism in spintronic devices. Engineering the SOT efficiency is a key goal that is pursued by maximizing the active interfacial spin accumulation or modulating the nonequilibrium spin density that builds up through the spin Hall and inverse spin galvanic effects. Regardless of the origin, the fundamental requirement for the generation of the current-induced torques is a net spin accumulation. We report on the large enhancement of the SOT efficiency in thulium iron garnet (TmIG)/Pt by capping with a CuOx layer. Considering the weak spin-orbit coupling (SOC) of CuOx, these surprising findings likely result from an orbital current generated at the interface between CuOx and Pt, which is injected into the Pt layer and converted into a spin current by strong SOC. The converted spin current decays across the Pt layer and exerts a “nonlocal” torque on TmIG. This additional torque leads to a maximum colossal enhancement of the SOT efficiency of a factor 16 for 1.5 nm of Pt at room temperature, thus opening a path to increase torques while at the same time offering insights into the underlying physics of orbital transport, which has so far been elusive.