Spin transfer driven ferromagnetic resonance in spin valve structures

Staudacher, Tobias Manuel
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This thesis investigates the recently developed technique of spin-torque-driven ferromagentic resonance (ST-FMR). Contrary to conventional FMR techniques where the magnetodynamics are excited by torques on the magentic moments produced by microwave fields, ST-FMR uses the spin-transfer torque acting on a nanomagnet. Here we present two experiments which exploit ST-FMR in the standard AFM/FM/NM/FM exchange-biased spin valve (EBSV) structures, where the ferromagnetic (FM) layers are separated by a nonmagnetic (NM) spacer, and one ferromagnet is pinned with an antiferromagnetic (AFM) layer. In our experiments microwave currents are applied to a mechanical point contact between a sharpened Cu tip and a SV (IrMn/Py/Cu/Py) multilayer film. While most ST-FMR experiments require noncollinear orientation of FM-layer magnetizations, we studied ST-FMR in SVs above saturation, where the two FM layers have parallel magnetizations. The resulting magnetodynamics are detected electrically by a small rectified dc voltage, which appears across the structure during resonance. Studies of the resonance frequencies, amplitudes, line widths, and line shapes as a function of microwave power, microwave frequency, dc current and magentic field are presented. The results are analyzed in terms of ST-FMR and rectification based on GMR. However the origin of the observed voltage cannot be fully explained by the resistance changes which come from the giant magnetoresistance (GMR) effect of the spin valve. To investigate other sources of rectified dc voltages at resonance we have performed the second set of measurements with lithographically patterned pairs of (Py/Cu/Co/IrMn)-SV microstripes. These measurements also revealed a resonance in the rectified voltage at FMR frequencies, and showed additional structures which might be related to spin wave excitations. The observations can be tentatively attributed to additional rectification effects due to anisotropic magnetoresistance (AMR). The line pair structure allows us to use different measurement geometries to investigate the magnetodynamics in the SV. In this experiment FMR can either be excited by spin transfer or by a rf magnetic field created by the microwave current, depending on the used geometry. Qualitative studies of the FMR dependencies and characteristics are presented for different measurement geometries.