Efficient spin transport through native oxides of nickel and permalloy with platinum and gold overlayers

B. L. Zink, M. Manno, L. O'Brien, J. Lotze, M. Weiler, D. Bassett, S. J. Mason, S. T B Goennenwein, M. Johnson, C. Leighton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We present measurements of spin pumping detected by the inverse spin Hall effect voltage and ferromagnetic resonance spectroscopy in a series of metallic ferromagnet/normal metal thin film stacks. We compare heterostructures grown in situ to those where either a magnetic or nonmagnetic oxide is introduced between the two metals. The heterostructures, either nickel with a platinum overlayer (Ni/Pt) or the nickel-iron alloy permalloy (Py) with a gold overlayer (Py/Au), were also characterized in detail using grazing-incidence x-ray reflectivity, Auger electron spectroscopy, and both SQUID and alternating-gradient magnetometry. We verify the presence of oxide layers, characterize layer thickness, composition, and roughness, and probe saturation magnetization, coercivity, and anisotropy. The results show that while the presence of a nonmagnetic oxide at the interface suppresses spin transport from the ferromagnet to the nonmagnetic metal, a thin magnetic oxide (here the native oxide formed on both Py and Ni) somewhat enhances the product of the spin-mixing conductance and the spin Hall angle. We also observe clear evidence of an out-of-plane component of magnetic anisotropy in Ni/Pt samples that is enhanced in the presence of the native oxide, resulting in perpendicular exchange bias. Finally, the dc inverse spin Hall voltages generated at ferromagnetic resonance in our Py/Au samples are large, and suggest values for the spin Hall angle in gold of 0.04<αSH<0.22, in line with the highest values reported for Au. This is interpreted as resulting from Fe impurities. We present indirect evidence that the Au films described here indeed have significant impurity levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number184401
JournalPhysical Review B
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 2 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank A. Hojem and A. D. Avery for helpful discussions and assistance in the laboratory, J. Nogan and the IL staff at CINT for guidance and training, and T. Silva and the NIST Boulder Magnetics group for use of the FMR spectrometer, and advice and discussions of related physics. B.L.Z. and D.B. gratefully acknowledge support from the NSF (Grants No. DMR-0847796 and No. DMR-1410247). B.L.Z. also thanks the University of Minnesota Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Department, as a portion of this work benefited from support of the George T. Piercy Distinguished Visiting Professorship. Work at the University of Minnesota was supported primarily by the NSF under Grant No. DMR-1507048, with additional support from the NSF MRSEC under Grant No. DMR-1420013. The work at WMI is supported by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft via SPP 1538 Spin-Caloric Transport (Project No. GO 944/4-1). Parts of this work were carried out in the Characterization Facility, University of Minnesota, which receives partial support from NSF through the MRSEC program. This work was performed, in part, at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, an Office of Science User Facility operated for the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science by Los Alamos National Laboratory (Contract No. DE-AC52-06NA25396) and Sandia National Laboratories (Contract No. DE-AC04-94AL85000).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Physical Society.

How much support was provided by MRSEC?

  • Partial

Reporting period for MRSEC

  • Period 3

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