Room Temperature Spin-orbit Torque Switching Induced by a Topological Insulator

  • Authors:
    Jiahao Han (MIT), Saima A. Siddiqui (MIT), Joseph Finley (MIT), Nitin Samarth (Penn State), Luqiao Liu (MIT)
    Publication ID:
    Publication Type:
    Received Date:
    Last Edit Date:
    2700.001 (Mass. Institute of Technology)


Recent studies on the magneto-transport properties of topological insulators (TI)1–7 have attracted great attention due to the rich spin-orbit physics and promising applications in spintronic devices. Particularly, the strongly spin-moment coupled electronic states have been extensively pursued to realize efficient spin-orbit torque (SOT) switching. However, so far current-induced magnetic switching with TI has only been observed at cryogenic temperatures. It remains a controversial issue whether the topologically protected electronic states in TI could benefit spintronic applications at room temperature. In this work, we report full SOT switching in a TI/ferromagnet heterostructure with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy at room temperature. The low switching current density provides definitive proof of the high SOT efficiency from TI. Furthermore, the effective spin Hall angle of TI is determined to be several times larger than commonly used heavy metals. Our results demonstrate the robustness of TI as an SOT switching material and provide a direct avenue towards applicable TI-based spintronic devices.

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