Spin–orbit Torques in Metallic Magnetic Multilayers: Challenges and New Opportunities

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Physics and Astronomy


Two decades after the discovery of the giant magnetoresistance that revolutionizes the hard disk drive, the rapid development of spin torque-based magnetic random access memory has once again demonstrated the great potential of spintronics in practical applications. While the industrial application is mainly focusing on the implementation of current-induced spin transfer torque (STT) in magnetic tunnel junctions, a new type of spin torque emerges due to the spin–orbit interaction in magnetic multilayers. A great effort has been devoted by the scientific community to study the so-called spin–orbit torque (SOT), which is not only of interest to fundamental science, but also exhibits potential for the application of current-induced magnetization switching. In this paper, we will review recent development in the SOTs including the fundamental understanding, materials development and measurement techniques. We will also discuss the challenges of using the SOT in potential applications, particularly on the switching of perpendicularly magnetized films.

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