Joule Heating Effect on Field-Free Magnetization Switching by Spin-Orbit Torque in Exchange-Biased Systems
Switching of magnetization via spin-orbit torque provides an efficient alternative for nonvolatile memory and logic devices. However, to achieve deterministic switching of perpendicular magnetization, an external magnetic field collinear with the current is usually required, which makes these devices inappropriate for practical applications. In this work, we examine the current-induced magnetization switching in a perpendicularly magnetized exchange-biased Pt=CoFe=IrMn system. A magnetic field annealing technique is used to introduce in-plane exchange biases, which are quantitatively characterized. Under proper conditions, field-free current-driven switching is achieved. We study the Joule heating effect, and we show how it can decrease the in-plane exchange bias and degrade the field-free switching. Furthermore, we discuss that the exchange-bias training effect can have similar effects.