Strain-Mediated Magnetization Reversal Through Spin-Transfer Torque

Nickvash Kani, John T. Heron, Azad Naeemi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent experiments have shown the ability to introduce an anisotropy energy to the energy landscape of a thin-film nanomagnet through the use of mechanical strain. Assuming this strain-induced anisotropy is large enough, the low-energy state of the nanomagnet is altered and can be used to initialize the magnetization along a given axis. Utilizing this effect, we propose a more energy efficient method of nanomagnet reversal through spin-transfer torque (STT). This is accomplished by first initializing the magnetization to a high-energy state and then applying a short current pulse to nudge the magnetization in the appropriate energy basin. Using extensive numerical simulations, we qualitatively analyze this type of reversal and find the optimal parameters for reliable functionality while in the presence of thermal noise. We demonstrate that despite negating the initial portion of nominal STT reversal, where the STT must fight against the damping torque of the initial energy-basin, the magnitude of spin current required for our proposed strain-mediated reversal is equivalent to the nominal case. However, the strain-meditated reversal is beneficial by minimizing the spin-current pulsewidth necessary for reliable operation allowing for large energy savings. Assuming the strain-anisotropy is significantly larger than the nanomagnet's internal free-axis anisotropy, strain-mediated reversals offer a 10 × energy reduction over nominal STT reversals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7927436
JournalIEEE Transactions on Magnetics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Magnetoelectric
  • magnetostriction
  • piezoelectric
  • spin-polarized transport
  • spin-transfer torque
  • strain
  • thermal noise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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