Evolution of damping in ferromagnetic/nonmagnetic thin film bilayers as a function of nonmagnetic layer thickness

S. Azzawi, A. Ganguly, M. Tokaç, R. M. Rowan-Robinson, J. Sinha, A. T. Hindmarch, A. Barman, D. Atkinson

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    Abstract

    The evolution of damping in Co/Pt, Co/Au, and Ni81Fe19/Pt bilayers was studied with increasing nonmagnetic (NM) heavy-metal layer thicknesses in the range 0.2nm≤tNM≤10nm, where tNM is the NM layer thickness. Magnetization precession was measured in the time domain using time-resolved magneto-optical Kerr effect magnetometry. Fitting of the data with a damped sinusoidal function was undertaken in order to extract the phenomenological Gilbert damping coefficient α. For Pt-capped Co and Ni81Fe19 layers a large and complex dependence of α on the Pt layer thickness was observed, while for Au capping no significant dependence was observed. It is suggested that this difference is related to the different localized spin-orbit interaction related to intermixing and to d-d hybridization of Pt and Au at the interface with Co or Ni81Fe19. Also it was shown that damping is affected by the crystal structure differences in FM thin films and at the interface, which can modify the spin-diffusion length and the effective spin-mixing conductance. In addition to the intrinsic damping an extrinsic contribution plays an important role in the enhancement of damping when the Pt capping layer is discontinuous. The dependence of damping on the nonmagnetic layer thickness is complex but shows qualitative agreement with recent theoretical predictions.

    Original languageBritish English
    Article number054402
    JournalPhysical Review B
    Volume93
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016

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