Spin Torque–Generated Magnetic Droplet Solitons

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Science  15 Mar 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6125, pp. 1295-1298
DOI: 10.1126/science.1230155

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Magnetic Droplet

When a solitary wave travels atop the surface of a fluid, its shape generally changes with time, with some of its components traveling at velocities slightly different than others. In nonlinear media, this spreading effect may be countered by a slimming effect stemming from the non-linearity, which generates an object with perfectly preserved shape, called a soliton. Solitons have been observed in fluids, granular media, and other systems. Mohseni et al. (p. 1295) detected a dissipative soliton (one that also balances gain and dissipation) in a magnetic system, in the form of a magnetic droplet consisting of a core of spins pointing opposite to the external magnetic field. The droplet exhibited peculiar dynamics and could be controlled by electric current.


Dissipative solitons have been reported in a wide range of nonlinear systems, but the observation of their magnetic analog has been experimentally challenging. Using spin transfer torque underneath a nanocontact on a magnetic thin film with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA), we have observed the generation of dissipative magnetic droplet solitons and report on their rich dynamical properties. Micromagnetic simulations identify a wide range of automodulation frequencies, including droplet oscillatory motion, droplet "spinning," and droplet "breather" states. The droplet can be controlled by using both current and magnetic fields and is expected to have applications in spintronics, magnonics, and PMA-based domain-wall devices.

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