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Spin transfer torque switching dynamics in CoFeB/MgO magnetic tunnel junctions

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JournalPhysical Review B
DateAccepted/In press - 3 Feb 2021
DatePublished (current) - 18 Feb 2021
Issue number5
Volume103
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

We perform atomistic simulations of spin transfer torque switching dynamics in CoFeB/MgO/CoFeB magnetic tunnel junctions. We base our study on Slonczewski's model parametrized following the approach of Zhang, Levy, and Fert. We utilize excitation modes and the contour integral of the magnetization to perform a deeper analysis of the switching mechanism driven by spin transfer torque. Our results show a magnetization reversal driven by the combination of coherent and nonuniform excitation modes. These can be nonuniform and initiated by a coherent mode of the magnetization, or domain wall nucleated depending on the lateral size, temperature, and current density injected into the system. Larger current densities result in stronger excitation of nonuniform modes making the switching more easily subjected to thermal excitations and structural imperfections such as edge damage. Our findings agree with experimental works on spin transfer torque switching in similar CoFeB/MgO-based systems, and they suggest the presence of complex features in the magnetization dynamics. The analysis and the results presented here can help to gain a deeper understanding of spin transfer torque dynamics in nanoscale devices.

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