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Chin. Phys. B, 2019, Vol. 28(10): 107105    DOI: 10.1088/1674-1056/ab425e
TOPICAL REVIEW—110th Anniversary of Lanzhou University Prev   Next  

A review of current research on spin currents and spin-orbit torques

Xiao-Yu Feng(冯晓玉), Qi-Han Zhang(张琪涵), Han-Wen Zhang(张瀚文), Yi Zhang(张祎), Rui Zhong(钟瑞), Bo-Wen Lu(卢博文), Jiang-Wei Cao(曹江伟), Xiao-Long Fan(范小龙)
The Key Laboratory for Magnetism and Magnetic Materials of Ministry of Education, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
Abstract  Spintronics is a new discipline focusing on the research and application of electronic spin properties. After the discovery of the giant magnetoresistance effect in 1988, spintronics has had a huge impact on scientific progress and related applications in the development of information technology. In recent decades, the main motivation in spintronics has been efficiently controlling local magnetization using electron flow or voltage rather than controlling the electron flow using magnetization. Using spin-orbit coupling in a material can convert a charge current into a pure spin current (a flow of spin momenta without a charge flow) and generate a spin-orbit torque on the adjacent ferromagnets. The ability of spintronic devices to utilize spin-orbit torques to manipulate the magnetization has resulted in large-scale developments such as magnetic random-access memories and has boosted the spintronic research area. Here in, we review the theoretical and experimental results that have established this subfield of spintronics. We introduce the concept of a pure spin current and spin-orbit torques within the experimental framework, and we review transport-, magnetization-dynamics-, and optical-based measurements and link then to both phenomenological and microscopic theories of the effect. The focus is on the related progress reported from Chinese universities and institutes, and we specifically highlight the contributions made by Chinese researchers.
Keywords:  spin-orbit coupling      pure spin current      spin-orbit torques      physical effects associated with spin current  
Received:  17 June 2019      Revised:  05 September 2019      Published:  05 October 2019
PACS:  71.70.Ej (Spin-orbit coupling, Zeeman and Stark splitting, Jahn-Teller effect)  
  85.75.-d (Magnetoelectronics; spintronics: devices exploiting spin polarized transport or integrated magnetic fields)  
  72.25.Ba (Spin polarized transport in metals)  
  75.76.+j (Spin transport effects)  
Fund: Project supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 11674142, 51771099, 11429401, and 51471081) and the Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in University, China (Grant No. IRT-16R35).
Corresponding Authors:  Xiao-Yu Feng, Xiao-Long Fan     E-mail:  fengxy15@lzu.edu.cn;fanxiaolong@lzu.edu.cn

Cite this article: 

Xiao-Yu Feng(冯晓玉), Qi-Han Zhang(张琪涵), Han-Wen Zhang(张瀚文), Yi Zhang(张祎), Rui Zhong(钟瑞), Bo-Wen Lu(卢博文), Jiang-Wei Cao(曹江伟), Xiao-Long Fan(范小龙) A review of current research on spin currents and spin-orbit torques 2019 Chin. Phys. B 28 107105

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