3 years ago

Anomalous Nernst effect on the nanometer scale: Exploring three-dimensional temperature gradients in magnetic tunnel junctions.

Chia-Lin Chang, Jakob Walowski, Andy Thomas, Timo Kuschel, Ulrike Martens, Raanan I. Tobey, Ronnie R. Tamming, Markus Münzenberg, Oliver Reimer, Torsten Huebner, Henning Ulrichs

Localized laser heating creates temperature gradients in all directions and thus leads to three-dimensional electron flux in metallic materials. Temperature gradients in combination with material magnetization generate thermomagnetic voltages. The interplay between these direction-dependent temperature gradients and the magnetization along with their control enable to manipulate the generated voltages, e.g. in magnetic nanodevices. We identify the anomalous Nernst effect (ANE) generated on a nanometer length scale by micrometer sized temperature gradients in magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs). In a systematic study, we extract the ANE by analyzing the influence of in-plane temperature gradients on the tunnel magneto-Seebeck effect (TMS) in three dimensional devices. To investigate these effects, we utilize in-plane magnetized MTJs based on CoFeB electrodes with an MgO tunnel barrier. Due to our measurement configuration, there is no necessity to disentangle the ANE from the spin Seebeck effect in inverse spin-Hall measurements. The temperature gradients are created by a tightly focused laser spot. The spatial extent of the measured effects is defined by the MTJ size, while the spatial resolution is given by the laser spot size and the step size of its lateral translation. This method is highly sensitive to low voltages and yields an ANE coefficient of $K_N\approx 1.6\cdot 10^{-8}\,\mathrm{V/TK}$ for CoFeB. In general, TMS investigations in MTJs are motivated by the usage of otherwise wasted heat in magnetic memory devices for read/write operations. Here, the additionally generated ANE effect allows to expand the MTJs' functionality from simple memory storage to nonvolatile logic devices and opens new application fields such as direction dependent temperature sensing with the potential for further downscaling.

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1801.04186

DOI: arXiv:1801.04186v1

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