Highly Efficient Spin−Orbit Torque and Switching of Layered Ferromagnet Fe3GeTe2

Journal Article
Publication Abstract: 

Among van der Waals (vdW) layered ferromagnets, Fe3GeTe2 (FGT) is an excellent candidate material to form FGT/heavy metal heterostructures for studying the effect of spin−orbit torques (SOT). Its metallicity, strong perpendicular magnetic anisotropy built in the single atomic layers, relatively high Curie temperature (Tc ∼ 225 K), and electrostatic gate tunability offer a tantalizing possibility of achieving the ultimate high SOT limit in monolayer all-vdW nanodevices. In this study, we fabricate heterostructures of FGT/Pt with 5 nm of Pt sputtered onto the atomically flat surface of ∼15−23 nm exfoliated FGT flakes. The spin current generated in Pt exerts a damping-like SOT on FGT magnetization. At ∼2.5 × 1011 A/m2 current density, SOT causes the FGT magnetization to switch, which is detected by the anomalous Hall effect of FGT. To quantify the SOT effect, we measure the second harmonic Hall responses as the applied magnetic field rotates the FGT magnetization in the plane. Our analysis shows that the SOT efficiency is comparable with that of the best heterostructures containing three-dimensional (3D) ferromagnetic metals and much larger than that of heterostructures containing 3D ferrimagnetic insulators. Such large efficiency is attributed to the atomically flat FGT/Pt interface, which demonstrates the great potential of exploiting vdW heterostructures for highly efficient spintronic nanodevices.