Field- and current-induced domain-wall motion in permalloy nanowires with magnetic soft spots

Field- and current-induced domain-wall motion in permalloy nanowires with magnetic soft spots

Meier, G.; Vogel, A.; Wintz, S.; Gerhardt, T.; Bocklage, L.; Strache, T.; Im, M.-Y.; Fischer, P.; Fassbender, J.; McCord, J.

New concepts of high-density and ultrafast nonvolatile data storage devices involve the controlled motion of magnetic domain walls (DWs) in nanowires [1]. To realize such a device, reproducible and reliable pinning sites for individual DWs are required. Geometric constrictions are widely used to create local confining potentials acting as pinning sites [2]. As an alternative, pinning sites can be induced via a local modification of magnetic properties by ion irradiation [3]. In this case, a variation in the wire geometry on the nanoscale is not required. Implantation of chromium ions into permalloy is known to cause alloying and structural defects which lead to a reduction in the saturation magnetization MS, and the magnetic anisotropy as well as to a change in the exchange constant and the damping parameter [4]. The strength of the pinning potential can be tuned by the chromium ion fluence applied to induce the so-called magnetic soft spots [3].
Micromagnetic simulations, high resolution magnetic transmission soft X-ray microscopy at beamline 6.1.2 of the Advanced Light Source in Berkeley, CA, USA, and electrical measurements of the anisotropic magnetoresistance are employed to characterize the pinning potential which significantly differs for transverse and vortex walls. We demonstrate field-induced DW pinning and depinning as well as reliable DW depinning by single current pulses in a permalloy nanowire containing a square-shaped magnetic soft spot [5]. Lower requirements on the lithography in comparison to geometric constrictions on the nanoscale, a smaller distribution of properties due to parallel processing during implantation, and fine tunability of the pinning potential via the chromium ion fluence make the magnetic soft spots a promising candidate for applications.
Financial support by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft via Grant Nos. FA314/3-2 and MC9/7-2, the SFB 668 and the GrK 1286 as well as the Forschungs- und Wissenschaftsstiftung Hamburg via the Exzellenzcluster “Nano- Spintronik” is gratefully acknowledged. Operation of the X-ray microscope is supported by the US Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05-CH11231.
References: [1] D. A. Allwood, Gang Xiong, M. D. Cooke, C. C. Faulkner, D. Atkinson, N. Vernier, R. P. Cowburn, Science 296, 2003 (2002); S. S. P. Parkin, U. S. Patent No. US 683 400 5 (2004).
[2] M.-Y. Im, L. Bocklage, P. Fischer, and G. Meier, Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 147204 (2009).
[3] A. Vogel, S. Wintz, J. Kimling, M. Bolte, T. Strache, M. Fritzsche, M.-Y. Im, P. Fischer, G. Meier, and J. Fassbender, IEEE Trans. Mag. 46, 1708 (2010).
[4] J. Fassbender and J. McCord, J. Magn. Magn. Mater. 320, 579 (2008).
[5] A. Vogel, S. Wintz, T. Gerhardt, L. Bocklage, T. Strache, M.-Y. Im, P. Fischer, J. Fassbender, J. McCord, and G. Meier, Appl. Phys. Lett. 98, 202501 (2011).

Keywords: domain wall; soft spot

Related publications

  • Lecture (Conference)
    56th Annual Conference on Magnetism & Magnetic Materials, 30.10.-03.11.2011, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

Publ.-Id: 16219