Nano Letters

Highly Asymmetric Chiral Domain-Wall Velocities in Y-Shaped Junctions

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Recent developments in spin-orbit torques allow for highly efficient current-driven domain wall (DW) motion in nanowires with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy. Here, we show that chiral DWs can be driven into nonequilibrium states that can persist over tens of nanoseconds in Y-shaped magnetic nanowire junctions that have an input and two symmetric outputs. A single DW that is injected into the input splits and travels at very different velocities in the two output branches until it reaches its steady-state velocity. We find that this is due to the disparity between the fast temporal evolution of the spin current derived spin-orbit torque and a much-slower temporal evolution of the DMI-derived torque. Changing the DW polarity inverts the velocity asymmetry in the two output branches, a property that we use to demonstrate the sorting of domains.