Switching of perpendicular magnetization by spin-orbit torques in the absence of external magnetic fields

Guoqiang Yu*, Pramey Upadhyaya, Yabin Fan, Juan G. Alzate, Wanjun Jiang, Kin L. Wong, So Takei, Scott A. Bender, Li Te Chang, Ying Jiang, Murong Lang, Jianshi Tang, Yong Wang, Yaroslav Tserkovnyak, Pedram Khalili Amiri, Kang L. Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

751 Scopus citations


Magnetization switching by current-induced spin-orbit torques is of great interest due to its potential applications in ultralow-power memory and logic devices. The switching of ferromagnets with perpendicular magnetization is of particular technological relevance. However, in such materials, the presence of an in-plane external magnetic field is typically required to assist spin-orbit torque-driven switching and this is an obstacle for practical applications. Here, we report the switching of out-of-plane magnetized Ta/Co 20 Fe 60 B 20 /TaO x structures by spin-orbit torques driven by in-plane currents, without the need for any external magnetic fields. This is achieved by introducing a lateral structural asymmetry into our devices, which gives rise to a new field-like spin-orbit torque when in-plane current flows in these structures. The direction of the current-induced effective field corresponding to this field-like spin-orbit torque is out-of-plane, facilitating the switching of perpendicular magnets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)548-554
Number of pages7
JournalNature nanotechnology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Bioengineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • General Materials Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering


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