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Single-shot dynamics of spin-orbit torque and spin transfer torque switching in three-terminal magnetic tunnel junctions

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Grimaldi E., Krizakova V., Sala G., Yasin F., Couet S., Kar G. S., Garello K., Gambardella P.,
Project Spin-orbitronics in ferromagnets and antiferromagnets
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Nature Nanotechnology
Page(s) 111 - 111
ISBN 1748-3387
Title of proceedings Nature Nanotechnology
DOI 10.1038/s41565-019-0607-7

Open Access

Type of Open Access Repository (Green Open Access)


Current-induced spin-transfer torques (STT) and spin-orbit torques (SOT) enable the electrical switching of magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) in non-volatile magnetic random access memories. To develop faster memory devices, an improvement in the timescales that underlie the current-driven magnetization dynamics is required. Here we report all-electrical time-resolved measurements of magnetization reversal driven by SOT in a three-terminal MTJ device. Single-shot measurements of the MTJ resistance during current injection reveal that SOT switching involves a stochastic two-step process that consists of a domain nucleation time and propagation time, which have different genesis, timescales and statistical distributions compared to STT switching. We further show that the combination of SOT, STT and the voltage control of magnetic anisotropy leads to reproducible subnanosecond switching with the spread of the cumulative switching time smaller than 0.2 ns. Our measurements unravel the combined impact of SOT, STT and the voltage control of magnetic anisotropy in determining the switching speed and efficiency of MTJ devices. Fast all-electrical switching of magnetic tunnel junctions is required to improve the next generation of non-volatile memory. The combination of spin-orbit torques, spin-transfer torques, and the voltage control of magnetic anisotropy permits switching latency smaller than 0.2 ns as unveiled by real-time observation of the switching dynamics.