Substantial reduction of critical current for magnetization switching in an exchange-biased spin valve

Y. Jiang, T. Nozaki, S. Abe, T. Ochiai, A. Hirohata, N. Tezuka, K. Inomata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Citations (Scopus)


Great interest in current-induced magnetic excitation and switching in a magnetic nanopillar has been caused by the theoretical predictions of these phenomena. The concept of using a spin-polarized current to switch the magnetization orientation of a magnetic layer provides a possible way to realize future 'current-driven' devices: in such devices, direct switching of the magnetic memory bits would be produced by a local current application, instead of by a magnetic field generated by attached wires. Until now, all the reported work on current-induced magnetization switching has been concentrated on a simple ferromagnet/Cu/ferromagnet trilayer. Here we report the observation of current-induced magnetization switching in exchange-biased spin valves (ESPVs) at room temperature. The ESP Vs clearly show current-induced magnetization switching behaviour under a sweeping direct current with a very high density. We show that insertion of a ruthenium layer between an ESPV nanopillar and the top electrode effectively decreases the critical current density from about 10 8 to 107 A cm-2. In a well-designed 'antisymmetric' ESPV structure, this critical current density can be further reduced to 2 × 106 A cm-2. We believe that the substantial reduction of critical current could make it possible for current-induced magnetization switching to be directly applied in spintronic devices, such as magnetic random-access memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-364
Number of pages4
JournalNature Materials
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Jun
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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