Magnetic Domain Walls in Nanowires

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For many decades it was assumed that the characteristics of magnetic domain walls are determined by material properties, and the walls were moved by magnetic fields. In the past few years, it was shown that domain walls behave differently on the nanometer scale. Domain walls in small elements exhibit complex spin arrangements that strongly deviate from the wall types commonly encountered in magnetic thin film systems, and they can be modified by changing the geometry of the element. Domain walls in nanowires can also be moved by injecting electrical current pulses. Whereas wall propagation is qualitatively explained by a spin transfer from the conduction electrons to the spins of the domain wall, important aspects of the observations cannot be explained by present models. Examples include the observation of a drastic transformation of the wall structure upon current injection, or domain wall velocities which tend to be orders of magnitude smaller than anticipated from theory.

By: Rolf Allenspach; Pierre-Olivier Jubert

Published in: MRS Bulletin, volume , (no ), pages in 2006


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