Spin-orbit torque (SOT) switching of magnetization is a promising emerging technology for nonvolatile spintronic memory and logic applications. However, deterministic switching of perpendicular magnetization with SOTs requires an additional symmetry breaking, which is typically provided by an external magnetic field, making it impractical for applications. In this work, we disclose that by the insertion of a slightly asymmetric light-metal layer at the heavy metal-ferromagnet interface of SOT heterostructures, current-induced out-of-plane effective magnetic fields are introduced that enable deterministic switching without an external magnetic field. We obtain uniform perpendicular magnetic anisotropy and switching current density despite the asymmetry of the light-metal layer, and we show the scalability of our approach by studying device sizes that differ by 2 orders of magnitude. Our work provides a practical route for utilization of SOTs for magnetization switching on the wafer scale and paves the way for the practical application of SOT-based technology.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Mechanical Engineering