Ferromagnetic heterostructures provide an ideal platform to explore the nature of spin-orbit torques arising from the interplay mediated by itinerant electrons between a Rashba-type spin-orbit coupling and a ferromagnetic exchange interaction. For such a prototypic system, we develop a set of coupled diffusion equations to describe the diffusive spin dynamics and spin-orbit torques. We characterize the spin torque and its two prominent—out-of-plane and in-plane—components for a wide range of relative strength between the Rashba coupling and ferromagnetic exchange. The symmetry and angular dependence of the spin torque emerging from our simple Rashba model is in an agreement with experiments. The spin diffusion equation can be generalized to incorporate dynamic effects such as spin pumping and magnetic damping.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Physical Review B|
|State||Published - Feb 7 2014|