Optical spin-orbit torque in heavy metal-ferromagnet heterostructures

Gyung Min Choi, Jung Hyun Oh, Dong Kyu Lee, Seo Won Lee, Kun Woo Kim, Mijin Lim, Byoung Chul Min, Kyung Jin Lee, Hyun Woo Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1482
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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    Choi, G. M., Oh, J. H., Lee, D. K., Lee, S. W., Kim, K. W., Lim, M., Min, B. C., Lee, K. J., & Lee, H. W. (2020). Optical spin-orbit torque in heavy metal-ferromagnet heterostructures. Nature communications, 11(1), [1482]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-15247-3