Large voltage-induced magnetic anisotropy change in a few atomic layers of iron

T. Maruyama, Y. Shiota, T. Nozaki, K. Ohta, N. Toda, M. Mizuguchi, A. A. Tulapurkar, T. Shinjo, M. Shiraishi, S. Mizukami, Y. Ando, Y. Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1107 Citations (Scopus)


In the field of spintronics, researchers have manipulated magnetization using spin-polarized currents. Another option is to use a voltage-induced symmetry change in a ferromagnetic material to cause changes in magnetization or in magnetic anisotropy. However, a significant improvement in efficiency is needed before this approach can be used in memory devices with ultralow power consumption. Here, we show that a relatively small electric field (less than 100 mV nm-1) can cause a large change (∼40%) in the magnetic anisotropy of a bcc Fe(001)/MgO(001) junction. The effect is tentatively attributed to the change in the relative occupation of 3d orbitals of Fe atoms adjacent to the MgO barrier. Simulations confirm that voltage-controlled magnetization switching in magnetic tunnel junctions is possible using the anisotropy change demonstrated here, which could be of use in the development of low-power logic devices and non-volatile memory cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-161
Number of pages4
JournalNature Nanotechnology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Mar


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