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Spin current induced ultrafast switching

Final Activity Report Summary - SPINSWITCH (Spin Current Induced Ultrafast Switching)

The SPINSWITCH MCRTN project integrated the efforts of 15 leading European groups including some from the New Member States and Associated Countries to explore the scientific foundation and the potential of the spin transfer effect, in particular for high frequency and ultrafast switching applications, and to train ESRs and ERs for the future scientific work force. SPINSWITCH was focused on a limited number of well-defined, specific, scientific tasks concerning fundamental understanding and to advance technical applications. A strong team-working approach linked fundamental studies, modelling/theory, advanced characterisation and work on model structures for applications.

SPINSWITCH provided comprehensive, state-of-the-art scientific and complementary training for 18 young researchers from different countries (Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Greece, Portugal, Romania, Belarus, Algeria, China and Mexico).

The main scientific objective of SPINSWITCH was to explore the scientific foundation and the potential of the spin transfer effect for high frequency and ultrafast switching applications. This subject is of major importance for fundamental research aspects as well as for application aspects, e.g. in the field of magnetic data processing and sensor applications.

Low RxA materials as AlOx or MgO have been integrated in devices and spin transfer has been measured at low critical currents. Research into Point Contact (PC) devices was leading to the discovery of a new kind of excitations and identified them as vortex excitations. Several models to understand PCs have been developed so that most of the features of PC excitations are now understood and have a clear physical picture. Uniformly magnetised oscillators have been synchronized.

Work on domain wall propagation has enabled a complete understanding of the modification to the domain wall potential landscape created by artificial constrictions in nanowires to be generated from both a micromagnetic and an experimental point of view. Studies of thermally-activated stochastics and of the high speed (nanosecond) dynamics of current-induced de-pinning processes have been performed. In addition to current induced motion using conventional charge current, a first demonstration of current induced motion using pure diffusive spin current has been done.

Research on functional devices demonstrates ultrafast precessional spin-transfer switching of MRAM (100ps) at low temperatures. A combination of a thermally assisted write scheme with spin-transfer switching was demonstrated. RF oscillators using vortex configuration were built and characterized.

Within the SPINSWITCH network, the results of the research were published in 86 leading scientific publications, presented in 168 conference talks and 65 posters at international and national meetings. Two single partner patents were published and another one is pending. One partner succeeded to build a start-up company involving the SPINSWITCH researcher.

SPINSWITCH provided comprehensive, state-of-the-art scientific and complementary training for 18 young researchers (10 ESR and 8 ER including 4 female researchers). They have conducted a number of 24 secondments and 31 visits to other network partners gaining experience by learning new techniques. Numerous workshops and a summer school were organized by the Network aimed to develop not only the scientific competences but also soft abilities as communication skills, networking and team working, career management, and so on. To integrate themselves to their host communities the researchers took language courses.

The fellows started different types of careers: in industry, in research in the framework of universities as well as independent research centres and one fellow was participating in building up a start-up-company.