Magnetization Dynamics in Nano-Contact Spin Torque Oscillators Solitonic bullets and propagating spin waves

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH

Abstract: ?Magnetization dynamics in nano-contact spin torque oscillators (STOs) is investigated from an experimental and theoretical point of view. The fundamentals of magnetization dynamics due to spin transfer torque are given.A custom-made high frequency (up to 46 GHz) in large magnetic fields (up to 2.2 T) microwave characterization setup has been built for the purpose and described in this thesis. A unique feature of this setup is the capability of applying magnetic fields at any direction ?e out of the sample plane, and with high precision.This is particularly important, because the (average) out-of-plane angle of the STO free magnetic layer has fundamental impact on spin wave generation and STO operation.By observing the spin wave spectral emission as a function of ?e, we find that at angles ?e below a certain critical angle ?cr, two distinct spin wave modes can be excited: a propagating mode, and a localized mode of solitonic character (so called spin wave bullet). The experimental frequency, current threshold and frequency tuneability with current of the two modes can be described qualitatively by analytical models and quantitatively by numerical simulations. We are also able to understand the importance, so far underestimated, of the Oersted field in the dynamics of nano-contact STOs. In particular, we show that the Oersted field strongly affects the current tuneability of the propagating mode at subcritical angles, and it is also the fundamental cause of the mode hopping observed in the time-domain. This mode hopping has been observed both experimentally using a state-of-the-art real-time oscilloscope and corroborated by micromagnetic simulations. Micromagnetic simulations also reveal details of the spatial distribution of the spin wave excitations.By investigating the emitted power as a function of ?e, we observed two characteristic behaviors for the two spin wave modes: a monotonic increase of the power for increasing out-of-plane angles in the case of the propagating mode; an increase towards a maximum power followed by a drop of it at the critical angle for the localized mode. Both behaviors are reproduced by micromagnetic simulations. The agreement with the simulations offers also a way to better understand the precession dynamics, since the emitted power is strongly connected to the angular variation of the giant magnetoresistance signal.We also find that the injection locking of spin wave modes with a microwave source has a strong dependence on ?e, and reaches a maximum locking strength at perpendicular angles. We are able to describe these results in the theoretical framework of non-linear spin wave dynamics.