Spin current generation through the spin-orbit interaction in non-magnetic materials lies at the heart of spintronics. When the generated spin current is injected to a ferromagnet, it produces spin-orbit torque and manipulates magnetization efficiently. Optically generated spin currents are expected to be superior to their electrical counterparts in terms of the manipulation speed. Here we report optical spin-orbit torques in heavy metal/ferromagnet heterostructures. The strong spin-orbit coupling of heavy metals induces photo-excited carriers to be spin-polarized, and their transport from heavy metals to ferromagnets induces a torque on magnetization. Our results demonstrate that heavy metals can generate spin-orbit torque not only electrically but also optically.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)