Switching field distributions with spin transfer torques in perpendicularly magnetized spin-valve nanopillars

D. B. Gopman, D. Bedau, S. Mangin, E. E. Fullerton, J. A. Katine, A. D. Kent

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    We present switching field distributions of spin-transfer-assisted magnetization reversal in perpendicularly magnetized Co/Ni multilayer spin-valve nanopillars at room temperature. Switching field measurements of the Co/Ni free layer of spin-valve nanopillars with a 50 nm×300 nm ellipse cross section were conducted as a function of current. The validity of a model that assumes a spin-current-dependent effective barrier for thermally activated reversal is tested by measuring switching field distributions under applied direct currents. We show that the switching field distributions deviate significantly from the double exponential shape predicted by the effective barrier model, beginning at applied currents as low as half of the zero field critical current. Barrier heights extracted from switching field distributions for currents below this threshold are a monotonic function of the current. However, the thermally induced switching model breaks down for currents exceeding the critical threshold.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number134427
    JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
    Issue number13
    StatePublished - Apr 28 2014


    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
    • Condensed Matter Physics

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