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TOPOlogical insulators as Spin-Orbit Torque source materials for the manipulation of perpendicularly magnetized thin films

Research project selected under the 2023 call for proposals

Principal Investigator : Thomas BLON

Involved Teams :

  • LPCNO / Nanomag
  • LAAS / MPN

Type of project : Collaborative Project

Date (start/end) : 2023 – 2026

Schematic of a Hall bar designed to measure the spin-orbit torque in ferromagnetic/topological insulator (BiSb) heterostructures.

In spintronics and related applications such as memories, the full electrical writing and reading operations of magnetic systems are of fundamental interest. Charge-spin conversion in materials with large spin-orbit coupling leads to spin-orbit torques on an adjacent ferromagnetic layer and the electrical manipulation of its magnetic order. Topological insulators intrinsically possess conductive surface states with imposed spin orientation and are therefore expected as the best charge-spin converters. The TOPOSOT project aims to electrically drive the magnetization switching and magnetic domain wall motion of perpendicularly magnetized Co and CoFeB ultrathin films using topological insulators such as BiSb and BiSbSeTe as spin-orbit torque sources. With a consortium composed of experts in nanomagnetism, thin film growth by sputtering and molecular beam epitaxy, magneto-transport, magneto-optical and magnetic imaging, researchers from LPCNO, CEMES and LAAS focus on the fabrication of ferromagnets/topological insulators heterostructures, their full electrical drive and probe by Hall measurements and the imaging of current-drive magnetic domain wall motion.