Sidewall oxide effects on spin-torque- and magnetic-field-induced reversal characteristics of thin-film nanomagnets

O. Ozatay, P. G. Gowtham, K. W. Tan, J. C. Read, K. A. Mkhoyan, M. G. Thomas, G. D. Fuchs, P. M. Braganca, E. M. Ryan, K. V. Thadani, J. Silcox, D. C. Ralph, R. A. Buhrman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Scopus citations

Abstract

The successful operation of spin-based data storage devices depends on thermally stable magnetic bits. At the same time, the data-processing speeds required by todays technology necessitate ultrafast switching in storage devices. Achieving both thermal stability and fast switching requires controlling the effective damping in magnetic nanoparticles. By carrying out a surface chemical analysis, we show that through exposure to ambient oxygen during processing, a nanomagnet can develop an antiferromagnetic sidewall oxide layer that has detrimental effects, which include a reduction in the thermal stability at room temperature and anomalously high magnetic damping at low temperatures. The in situ deposition of a thin Al metal layer, oxidized to completion in air, greatly reduces or eliminates these problems. This implies that the effective damping and the thermal stability of a nanomagnet can be tuned, leading to a variety of potential applications in spintronic devices such as spin-torque oscillators and patterned media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-573
Number of pages7
JournalNature Materials
Volume7
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2008

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