Letter | Published:

Domain wall depinning governed by the spin Hall effect

Nature Materials volume 12, pages 299303 (2013) | Download Citation


Perpendicularly magnetized materials have attracted significant interest owing to their high anisotropy, which gives rise to extremely narrow, nanosized domain walls. As a result, the recently studied current-induced domain wall motion (CIDWM) in these materials promises to enable a new class of data, memory and logic devices1,2,3,4,5. Here we propose the spin Hall effect as an alternative mechanism for CIDWM. We are able to carefully tune the net spin Hall current in depinning experiments on Pt/Co/Pt nanowires, offering unique control over CIDWM. Furthermore, we determine that the depinning efficiency is intimately related to the internal structure of the domain wall, which we control by the application of small fields along the nanowire. This manifestation of CIDWM offers an attractive degree of freedom for manipulating domain wall motion by charge currents, and sheds light on the existence of contradicting reports on CIDWM in perpendicularly magnetized materials6,7,8,9,10,11.

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The work is part of the research programme of the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM), which is part of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). E.M. acknowledges support from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), Grant No. PBELP2-130894.

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  1. Department of Applied Physics, Center for NanoMaterials and COBRA Research Institute, Eindhoven University of Technology, PO Box 513, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands

    • P. P. J. Haazen
    • , E. Murè
    • , J. H. Franken
    • , R. Lavrijsen
    • , H. J. M. Swagten
    •  & B. Koopmans


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P.P.J.H., E.M., J.H.F. and R.L. contributed to the design of the experiment. P.P.J.H. carried out the experiment with support from E.M. and J.H.F. The manuscript was prepared by P.P.J.H., together with E.M. and J.H.F., and H.J.M.S. and B.K. supervised the study. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Correspondence to P. P. J. Haazen.

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