J. Appl. Phys. 127, 153904 (2020); https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5144537
Understanding the magnetization switching dynamics induced by the spin orbit torque (SOT) in a ferromagnetic layer is crucial to the design of ultrafast and energy-saving spin orbit torque magnetic random access memory (SOT-MRAM). Here, we investigate the SOT switching dynamics of a ferromagnetic layer with in-plane anisotropy with various elliptic sizes in different easy-axis orientations using micro-magnetic simulations. The reliable and ultrafast magnetization switching can be realized by tilting the easy axis to an optimum angle with respect to the current injecting direction. The switching time in general decreases smoothly with increasing current density; and the optimum tilting angle is determined for small device sizes with width smaller than 100 nm. This optimum angle is a small angle deviating from case when the in-plane easy axis is orthogonal to the current direction. It depends on the size, the current density and also the damping constant. However, with the device increases to a certain size (e.g., 250 nm), especially at small tilting angles, we observe chaotic switching behavior where the switching times fluctuate locally with the current density. We attribute this size dependent chaotic switching phenomenon to the nucleation and formulation of complex multi-domains during switching. This chaotic phenomenon can be alleviated by enhancing the field-like torque in the device, and thus decreasing the switching times. Consequently, the shape and size of the devices should be carefully taken into account while designing a practical fast switching and low power spin-orbit torque device with in-plane anisotropy.
A*STAR RIE2020 AME Programmatic Grant (Grant No. A18A6b0057).