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Dynamics of field-driven domain-wall propagation in ferromagnetic nanowires


Ferromagnetic nanowires are likely to play an important role in future spintronic devices. Magnetic domain walls, which separate regions of opposing magnetization in a nanowire, can be manipulated1,2,3,4,5,6 and used to encode information for storage2,7 or to perform logic operations1. Owing to their reduced size and dimensionality, the characterization of domain-wall motion is an important problem. To compete with other technologies, high-speed operation, and hence fast wall propagation, is essential. However, the domain-wall dynamics in nanowires has only been investigated8,9,10,11,12,13 in the last five years and some results indicate a drastic slowing down of wall motion in higher magnetic fields8. Here we show that the velocity-field characteristic of a domain wall in a nanowire shows two linear regimes, with the wall mobility at high fields reduced tenfold from that at low fields. The transition is marked by a region of negative differential mobility and highly irregular wall motion. These results are in accord with theoretical predictions that, above a threshold field, uniform wall movement gives way to turbulent wall motion, leading to a substantial drop in wall mobility13,14,15,16,17,18,19. Our results help resolve contradictory reports of wall propagation velocities in laterally confined geometries8,9, and underscore the importance of understanding and enhancing the breakdown field for practical applications.

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Figure 1: Field-driven magnetization reversal measurements.
Figure 2: Domain-wall propagation and mobility characteristics.
Figure 3: Reversal transient widths.


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This work was supported by the NSF (NIRT program) under DMR-0404252 and by the R. A. Welch Foundation (F-1015). Instrumentation used in this work was developed and purchased through support from the NSF (IMR program) DMR-0216726 and from the Texas Coordinating Board (ATP-0099). Nanowires were fabricated using facilities of the Center for Nano and Molecular Science and Technology at UT Austin, supported in part by the R. A. Welch Foundation and by SPRING.

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Correspondence to Geoffrey S. D. Beach.

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Beach, G., Nistor, C., Knutson, C. et al. Dynamics of field-driven domain-wall propagation in ferromagnetic nanowires. Nature Mater 4, 741–744 (2005).

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