Publications by authors named "Lucas Caretta"

11 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Voltage control of ferrimagnetic order and voltage-assisted writing of ferrimagnetic spin textures.

Nat Nanotechnol 2021 Jul 29. Epub 2021 Jul 29.

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.

Voltage control of magnetic order is desirable for spintronic device applications, but 180° magnetization switching is not straightforward because electric fields do not break time-reversal symmetry. Ferrimagnets are promising candidates for 180° switching owing to a multi-sublattice configuration with opposing magnetic moments of different magnitudes. In this study we used solid-state hydrogen gating to control the ferrimagnetic order in rare earth-transition metal thin films dynamically. Electric field-induced hydrogen loading/unloading in GdCo can shift the magnetic compensation temperature by more than 100 K, which enables control of the dominant magnetic sublattice. X-ray magnetic circular dichroism measurements and ab initio calculations indicate that the magnetization control originates from the weakening of antiferromagnetic exchange coupling that reduces the magnetization of Gd more than that of Co upon hydrogenation. We observed reversible, gate voltage-induced net magnetization switching and full 180° Néel vector reversal in the absence of external magnetic fields. Furthermore, we generated ferrimagnetic spin textures, such as chiral domain walls and skyrmions, in racetrack devices through hydrogen gating. With gating times as short as 50 μs and endurance of more than 10,000 cycles, our method provides a powerful means to tune ferrimagnetic spin textures and dynamics, with broad applicability in the rapidly emerging field of ferrimagnetic spintronics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41565-021-00940-1DOI Listing
July 2021

Novel Spin-Orbit Torque Generation at Room Temperature in an All-Oxide Epitaxial La Sr MnO /SrIrO System.

Adv Mater 2021 Jun 7;33(24):e2008269. Epub 2021 May 7.

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA, 94720, USA.

Spin-orbit torques (SOTs) that arise from materials with large spin-orbit coupling offer a new pathway for energy-efficient and fast magnetic information storage. SOTs in conventional heavy metals and topological insulators are explored extensively, while 5d transition metal oxides, which also host ions with strong spin-orbit coupling, are a relatively new territory in the field of spintronics. An all-oxide, SrTiO (STO)//La Sr MnO (LSMO)/SrIrO (SIO) heterostructure with lattice-matched crystal structure is synthesized, exhibiting an epitaxial and atomically sharp interface between the ferromagnetic LSMO and the high spin-orbit-coupled metal SIO. Spin-torque ferromagnetic resonance (ST-FMR) is used to probe the effective magnetization and the SOT efficiency in LSMO/SIO heterostructures grown on STO substrates. Remarkably, epitaxial LSMO/SIO exhibits a large SOT efficiency, ξ  = 1, while retaining a reasonably low shunting factor and increasing the effective magnetization of LSMO by ≈50%. The findings highlight the significance of epitaxy as a powerful tool to achieve a high SOT efficiency, explore the rich physics at the epitaxial interface, and open up a new pathway for designing next-generation energy-efficient spintronic devices.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/adma.202008269DOI Listing
June 2021

Relativistic kinematics of a magnetic soliton.

Science 2020 12;370(6523):1438-1442

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

A tenet of special relativity is that no particle can exceed the speed of light. In certain magnetic materials, the maximum magnon group velocity serves as an analogous relativistic limit for the speed of magnetic solitons. Here, we drive domain walls to this limit in a low-dissipation magnetic insulator using pure spin currents from the spin Hall effect. We achieve record current-driven velocities in excess of 4300 meters per second-within ~10% of the relativistic limit-and we observe key signatures of relativistic motion associated with Lorentz contraction, which leads to velocity saturation. The experimental results are well explained through analytical and atomistic modeling. These observations provide critical insight into the fundamental limits of the dynamics of magnetic solitons and establish a readily accessible experimental framework to study relativistic solitonic physics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aba5555DOI Listing
December 2020

Observation of fluctuation-mediated picosecond nucleation of a topological phase.

Nat Mater 2021 Jan 5;20(1):30-37. Epub 2020 Oct 5.

European XFEL, Schenefeld, Germany.

Topological states of matter exhibit fascinating physics combined with an intrinsic stability. A key challenge is the fast creation of topological phases, which requires massive reorientation of charge or spin degrees of freedom. Here we report the picosecond emergence of an extended topological phase that comprises many magnetic skyrmions. The nucleation of this phase, followed in real time via single-shot soft X-ray scattering after infrared laser excitation, is mediated by a transient topological fluctuation state. This state is enabled by the presence of a time-reversal symmetry-breaking perpendicular magnetic field and exists for less than 300 ps. Atomistic simulations indicate that the fluctuation state largely reduces the topological energy barrier and thereby enables the observed rapid and homogeneous nucleation of the skyrmion phase. These observations provide fundamental insights into the nature of topological phase transitions, and suggest a path towards ultrafast topological switching in a wide variety of materials through intermediate fluctuating states.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41563-020-00807-1DOI Listing
January 2021

Interfacial Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction arising from rare-earth orbital magnetism in insulating magnetic oxides.

Nat Commun 2020 Feb 27;11(1):1090. Epub 2020 Feb 27.

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA.

The Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction (DMI) is responsible for exotic chiral and topological magnetic states such as spin spirals and skyrmions. DMI manifests at metallic ferromagnet/heavy-metal interfaces, owing to inversion symmetry breaking and spin-orbit coupling by a heavy metal such as Pt. Moreover, in centrosymmetric magnetic oxides interfaced by Pt, DMI-driven topological spin textures and fast current-driven dynamics have been reported, though the origin of this DMI is unclear. While in metallic systems, spin-orbit coupling arises from a proximate heavy metal, we show that in perpendicularly-magnetized iron garnets, rare-earth orbital magnetism gives rise to an intrinsic spin-orbit coupling generating interfacial DMI at mirror symmetry-breaking interfaces. We show that rare-earth ion substitution and strain engineering can significantly alter the DMI. These results provide critical insights into the origins of chiral magnetism in low-damping magnetic oxides and identify paths toward engineering chiral and topological states in centrosymmetric oxides through rare-earth ion substitution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-14924-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7046643PMC
February 2020

Interface-driven chiral magnetism and current-driven domain walls in insulating magnetic garnets.

Nat Nanotechnol 2019 06 1;14(6):561-566. Epub 2019 Apr 1.

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.

Magnetic oxides exhibit rich fundamental physics and technologically desirable properties for spin-based memory, logic and signal transmission. Recently, spin-orbit-induced spin transport phenomena have been realized in insulating magnetic oxides by using proximate heavy metal layers such as platinum. In their metallic ferromagnet counterparts, such interfaces also give rise to a Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction that can stabilize homochiral domain walls and skyrmions with efficient current-driven dynamics. However, chiral magnetism in centrosymmetric oxides has not yet been observed. Here we discover chiral magnetism that allows for pure spin-current-driven domain wall motion in the most ubiquitous class of magnetic oxides, ferrimagnetic iron garnets. We show that epitaxial rare-earth iron garnet films with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy exhibit homochiral Néel domain walls that can be propelled faster than 800 m s by spin current from an adjacent platinum layer. We find that, despite the relatively small interfacial Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction, very high velocities can be attained due to the antiferromagnetic spin dynamics associated with ferrimagnetic order.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41565-019-0421-2DOI Listing
June 2019

Current-Induced Skyrmion Generation through Morphological Thermal Transitions in Chiral Ferromagnetic Heterostructures.

Adv Mater 2018 Dec 4;30(49):e1805461. Epub 2018 Oct 4.

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 02139, USA.

Magnetic skyrmions promise breakthroughs in future memory and computing devices due to their inherent stability and small size. Their creation and current driven motion have been recently observed at room temperature, but the key mechanisms of their formation are not yet well-understood. Here it is shown that in heavy metal/ferromagnet heterostructures, pulsed currents can drive morphological transitions between labyrinth-like, stripe-like, and skyrmionic states. Using high-resolution X-ray microscopy, the spin texture evolution with temperature and magnetic field is imaged and it is demonstrated that with transient Joule heating, topological charges can be injected into the system, driving it across the stripe-skyrmion boundary. The observations are explained through atomistic spin dynamic and micromagnetic simulations that reveal a crossover to a global skyrmionic ground state above a threshold magnetic field, which is found to decrease with increasing temperature. It is demonstrated how by tuning the phase stability, one can reliably generate skyrmions by short current pulses and stabilize them at zero field, providing new means to create and manipulate spin textures in engineered chiral ferromagnets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/adma.201805461DOI Listing
December 2018

Fast current-driven domain walls and small skyrmions in a compensated ferrimagnet.

Nat Nanotechnol 2018 12 17;13(12):1154-1160. Epub 2018 Sep 17.

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA.

Spintronics is a research field that aims to understand and control spins on the nanoscale and should enable next-generation data storage and manipulation. One technological and scientific key challenge is to stabilize small spin textures and to move them efficiently with high velocities. For a long time, research focused on ferromagnetic materials, but ferromagnets show fundamental limits for speed and size. Here, we circumvent these limits using compensated ferrimagnets. Using ferrimagnetic Pt/GdCo/TaO films with a sizeable Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction, we realize a current-driven domain wall motion with a speed of 1.3 km s near the angular momentum compensation temperature (T) and room-temperature-stable skyrmions with minimum diameters close to 10 nm near the magnetic compensation temperature (T). Both the size and dynamics of the ferrimagnet are in excellent agreement with a simplified effective ferromagnet theory. Our work shows that high-speed, high-density spintronics devices based on current-driven spin textures can be realized using materials in which T and T are close together.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41565-018-0255-3DOI Listing
December 2018

Field-free deterministic ultrafast creation of magnetic skyrmions by spin-orbit torques.

Nat Nanotechnol 2017 11 2;12(11):1040-1044. Epub 2017 Oct 2.

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.

Magnetic skyrmions are stabilized by a combination of external magnetic fields, stray field energies, higher-order exchange interactions and the Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya interaction (DMI). The last favours homochiral skyrmions, whose motion is driven by spin-orbit torques and is deterministic, which makes systems with a large DMI relevant for applications. Asymmetric multilayers of non-magnetic heavy metals with strong spin-orbit interactions and transition-metal ferromagnetic layers provide a large and tunable DMI. Also, the non-magnetic heavy metal layer can inject a vertical spin current with transverse spin polarization into the ferromagnetic layer via the spin Hall effect. This leads to torques that can be used to switch the magnetization completely in out-of-plane magnetized ferromagnetic elements, but the switching is deterministic only in the presence of a symmetry-breaking in-plane field. Although spin-orbit torques led to domain nucleation in continuous films and to stochastic nucleation of skyrmions in magnetic tracks, no practical means to create individual skyrmions controllably in an integrated device design at a selected position has been reported yet. Here we demonstrate that sub-nanosecond spin-orbit torque pulses can generate single skyrmions at custom-defined positions in a magnetic racetrack deterministically using the same current path as used for the shifting operation. The effect of the DMI implies that no external in-plane magnetic fields are needed for this aim. This implementation exploits a defect, such as a constriction in the magnetic track, that can serve as a skyrmion generator. The concept is applicable to any track geometry, including three-dimensional designs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2017.178DOI Listing
November 2017

Current-induced switching in a magnetic insulator.

Nat Mater 2017 03 21;16(3):309-314. Epub 2016 Nov 21.

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.

The spin Hall effect in heavy metals converts charge current into pure spin current, which can be injected into an adjacent ferromagnet to exert a torque. This spin-orbit torque (SOT) has been widely used to manipulate the magnetization in metallic ferromagnets. In the case of magnetic insulators (MIs), although charge currents cannot flow, spin currents can propagate, but current-induced control of the magnetization in a MI has so far remained elusive. Here we demonstrate spin-current-induced switching of a perpendicularly magnetized thulium iron garnet film driven by charge current in a Pt overlayer. We estimate a relatively large spin-mixing conductance and damping-like SOT through spin Hall magnetoresistance and harmonic Hall measurements, respectively, indicating considerable spin transparency at the Pt/MI interface. We show that spin currents injected across this interface lead to deterministic magnetization reversal at low current densities, paving the road towards ultralow-dissipation spintronic devices based on MIs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nmat4812DOI Listing
March 2017

Observation of room-temperature magnetic skyrmions and their current-driven dynamics in ultrathin metallic ferromagnets.

Nat Mater 2016 05 29;15(5):501-6. Epub 2016 Feb 29.

Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.

Magnetic skyrmions are topologically protected spin textures that exhibit fascinating physical behaviours and large potential in highly energy-efficient spintronic device applications. The main obstacles so far are that skyrmions have been observed in only a few exotic materials and at low temperatures, and fast current-driven motion of individual skyrmions has not yet been achieved. Here, we report the observation of stable magnetic skyrmions at room temperature in ultrathin transition metal ferromagnets with magnetic transmission soft X-ray microscopy. We demonstrate the ability to generate stable skyrmion lattices and drive trains of individual skyrmions by short current pulses along a magnetic racetrack at speeds exceeding 100 m s(-1) as required for applications. Our findings provide experimental evidence of recent predictions and open the door to room-temperature skyrmion spintronics in robust thin-film heterostructures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nmat4593DOI Listing
May 2016
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