Exploiting the Spin Angular Momentum to Control Magnetism at the Nanoscale

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Date/Time:Monday, 27 Aug 2012 from 4:10 pm to 5:00 pm
Location:Physics 0005
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Eric Fullerton, University of California-San Diego

In most magnetic applications the orientation of the magnetic elements are controlled by external magnetic fields. However, it has recently been appreciated that the relative orientations of nano-magnets can be controlled directly by the injection of spin polarized currents known as the spin transfer effect. This results fundamentally from the transfer of angular momentum from the spin current to the magnetic material. While this effect provides new insight into the interaction of current and magnetism, the ability of a spin-polarized current to reverse the orientation of a nanomagnets also enables a range of new devices such as high performance random-access magnetic memories and spin-oscillators [1]. In this presentation I will review the basic properties of spin-transfer and highlight recent research on spin-transfer effects in nano-elements having strong magnetic anisotropy and their relation to basic energy scales [2,3].

[1]. J. A. Katine and E. E. Fullerton, J. Magn. Magn. Mater. 320, 1217 (2008).
[2] S. Mangin et al., Nature Mater. 5, 210 (2006).
[3] C. Burrowes et al., Nature Physics 6, 17 (2009).

Professor Fullerton received his B.Sc. in Physics from Harvey Mudd College in 1984 and his Ph.D. in physics from University of California, San Diego in 1991 where he worked on the growth and characterization of metallic superlattices. He joined the magnetic films group in the Materials Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow and in 1993 became a staff scientist specializing in the physics of coupled magnetic films. In 1997 he joined the IBM Almaden Research Center where he worked until 2003 when he moved to Hitachi Global Storage Technologies as a Research Staff Member and Manager of the Fundamentals of Nanostructured Materials Group. In 2007 he joined the University of California, San Diego as a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and NanoEngineering and as an Endowed Chair and Director of the Center of Magnetic Recording Research.