Femtosecond laser-assisted switching in perpendicular magnetic tunnel junctions with double-interface free layer

Luding Wang, Wenlong Cai, Kaihua Cao, Kewen Shi, Bert Koopmans (Corresponding author), Weisheng Zhao (Corresponding author)

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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Perpendicular magnetic tunnel junctions with double-interface free layer (p-DMTJs), which exhibit enhanced tunnel magnetoresistance (TMR) and thermal stability (Δ) at the nanoscale, have received considerable interest as building blocks for spintronic data storage devices. Heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) techniques have been widely employed in mainstream magnetic storage to enable ultrahigh storage density. However, the data access is achieved by sensing the stray field of the selected magnetic element using a mechanical “read head”, resulting in an unfavorable speed limitation and design complexity. To address this issue, integrating laser-assisted switching with a high-performance magnetic tunnel junction has received interest in spintronic R&D; however, it has not yet been achieved. In this study, we experimentally explored femtosecond (fs) laser-assisted switching in a p-DMTJ device using a direct electrical TMR readout. We demonstrate two reconfigurable switching operations, i.e., binary “write” and unidirectional “reset”, by the interplay of the fs laser and synchronized magnetic field sequence. We further explored the joint effect, and a switching phase diagram was obtained. The effect of the stray field of p-DMTJ, as well as laser helicity, on switching is also discussed. Results show the feasibility of fs laser-assisted writing p-DMTJs, which can pave the way in high-density optospintronic storage applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number142403
Number of pages7
JournalSCIENCE CHINA Information Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by National Key R&D Program of China (Grant No. 2018YFB0407602), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 61627813), International Collaboration Project (Grant No. B16001), National Key Technology Program of China (Grant No. 2017ZX01032101), Beihang Hefei Innovation Research Institute Project (Grant No. BHKX-19-02), and China Scholarship Council (CSC).


  • femtosecond laser
  • heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR)
  • magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs)
  • spintronics
  • thermally-assisted switching (TAS)


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