PerspectiveApplied Physics

A New Twist for Magnets

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Science  09 Feb 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5506, pp. 999-1000
DOI: 10.1126/science.1059019

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Current-induced magnetic fields are at the core of widely used technologies such as electric motors and magnetic memories. But, as Ralph explains in his Perspective, there is a second, fundamentally distinct mechanism by which an electric current can reorient a magnet. For very small devices, this mechanism, called spin transfer, can be much more powerful than current-induced magnetic fields. He highlights the report by Weber et al. , who have performed detailed measurements of spin transfer in ferromagnetic thin films.