Current-induced magnetic superstructures in exchange-spring devices

Anatoli M. Kadigrobov, Robert I. Shekhter, Mats Jonson

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We investigate the potential to use a magnetothermoelectric instability that may be induced in a mesoscopic magnetic multilayer (F/f/F) to create and control magnetic superstructures. In the studied multilayer two strongly ferromagnetic layers (F) are coupled through a weakly ferromagnetic spacer (f) by an “exchange spring” with a temperature-dependent “spring constant” that can be varied by Joule heating caused by an electrical dc current. We show that in the current-in-plane configuration a distribution of the magnetization, which is homogeneous in
the direction of the current flow, is unstable in the presence of an external magnetic field if the length L of the sample in this direction exceeds some critical value Lc ~ 10 µm. This spatial instability results in the spontaneous formation of a moving domain of magnetization directions, the length of which can be controlled by the bias voltage in the limit L Lc. Furthermore, we show that in such a situation the current-voltage characteristic has a plateau with hysteresis loops at its ends and demonstrate that if biased in the plateau region the studied device functions as an exponentially precise current stabilizer.
Original languageEnglish
Article number014436
Pages (from-to)014436-1 - 014436-9
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Review B: Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • magnetic multilayers
  • exchange-spring device
  • magnetothermoelectric instability


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