Magnetic memory driven by topological insulators

Hao Wu, Aitian Chen, Peng Zhang, Haoran He, John Nance, Chenyang Guo, Julian Sasaki, Takanori Shirokura, Pham Nam Hai, Bin Fang, Seyed Armin Razavi, Kin Wong, Yan Wen, Yinchang Ma, Guoqiang Yu, Gregory P. Carman, Xiufeng Han, Xixiang Zhang, Kang L. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Giant spin-orbit torque (SOT) from topological insulators (TIs) provides an energy efficient writing method for magnetic memory, which, however, is still premature for practical applications due to the challenge of the integration with magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs). Here, we demonstrate a functional TI-MTJ device that could become the core element of the future energy-efficient spintronic devices, such as SOT-based magnetic random-access memory (SOT-MRAM). The state-of-the-art tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR) ratio of 102% and the ultralow switching current density of 1.2 × 105 A cm−2 have been simultaneously achieved in the TI-MTJ device at room temperature, laying down the foundation for TI-driven SOT-MRAM. The charge-spin conversion efficiency θSH in TIs is quantified by both the SOT-induced shift of the magnetic switching field (θSH = 1.59) and the SOT-induced ferromagnetic resonance (ST-FMR) (θSH = 1.02), which is one order of magnitude larger than that in conventional heavy metals. These results inspire a revolution of SOT-MRAM from classical to quantum materials, with great potential to further reduce the energy consumption.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 29 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-11-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): CRF-2017-3427-CRG6, OSR
Acknowledgements: This work was supported by the NSF Award Nos. 1935362, 1909416, 1810163 and 1611570, the Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Translational Applications of Nanoscale Multiferroic Systems (TANMS), the U.S. Army Research Office MURI program under Grants No. W911NF-16-1-0472 and No. W911NF-15-1-10561. The work at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) was supported by KAUST Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) under award No. CRF-2017-3427-CRG6. The work at Tokyo Tech. was supported by the CREST program (No. JPMJCR18T5) of the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), and the Spintronics Research Network of Japan (Spin-RNJ). H.W. acknowledges the help of the schematic design from Chin-Chung Chen.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Chemistry
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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