We study the heavy metal layer thickness dependence of the current-induced spin-orbit torque (SOT) in perpendicularly magnetized Hf|CoFeB|MgO multilayer structures. The damping-like (DL) current-induced SOT is determined by vector anomalous Hall effect measurements. A non-monotonic behavior in the DL-SOT is found as a function of the thickness of the heavy-metal layer. The sign of the DL-SOT changes with increasing the thickness of the Hf layer in the trilayer structure. As a result, in the current-driven magnetization switching, the preferred direction of switching for a given current direction changes when the Hf thickness is increased above ∼7 nm. Although there might be a couple of reasons for this unexpected behavior in DL-SOT, such as the roughness in the interfaces and/or impurity based electric potential in the heavy metal, one can deduce a roughness dependence sign reversal in DL-SOT in our trilayer structure.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)