Physical Review B - CMMP

Interplay of spin-orbit torque and thermoelectric effects in ferromagnet/normal-metal bilayers

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We present harmonic transverse voltage measurements of current-induced thermoelectric and spin-orbit torque (SOT) effects in ferromagnet/normal-metal bilayers, in which thermal gradients produced by Joule heating and SOT coexist and give rise to ac transverse signals with comparable symmetry and magnitude. Based on the symmetry and field dependence of the transverse resistance, we develop a consistent method to separate thermoelectric and SOT measurements. By addressing first ferromagnet/light-metal bilayers with negligible spin-orbit coupling, we show that in-plane current injection induces a vertical thermal gradient whose sign and magnitude are determined by the resistivity difference and stacking order of the magnetic and nonmagnetic layers. We then study ferromagnet/heavy-metal bilayers with strong spin-orbit coupling, showing that second harmonic thermoelectric contributions to the transverse voltage may lead to a significant overestimation of the antidamping SOT. We find that thermoelectric effects are very strong in Ta(6 nm)/Co(2.5 nm) and negligible in Pt(6 nm)/Co(2.5 nm) bilayers. After including these effects in the analysis of the transverse voltage, we find that the antidamping SOTs in these bilayers, after normalization to the magnetization volume, are comparable to those found in thinner Co layers with perpendicular magnetization, whereas the fieldlike SOTs are about an order of magnitude smaller.