Magnetic field detection using spin-torque nano-oscillator combined with magnetic flux concentrator


Spin-torque nano-oscillators (STNO) are studied in terms of the Landau-Lifshitz-Gilbert (LLG) equation. The effect on the limit of detectivity of an STNO concerning externally applied magnetic fields is studied with micromagnetic models by placing adjacent magnetic flux concentrators (MFCs) at different distances from the nanopillar to analyze the effect on the induced auto-oscillations and magnetization dynamics. Perpendicular STNO structures allow for different detectivities with respect to externally applied magnetic fields depending on the distance from the MFCs to the nanopillar. The optimal design of an STNO combined with MFCs is proposed to improve the limit of detectivity, where the STNO consists of two out-of-plane (OP) ferromagnetic (FM) layers separated by a MgO insulating nonmagnetic (NM) thin film, and the MFCs positioned in the vicinity of the STNO are made of permalloy. The time evolution of the free-layer magnetization is governed by the Landau-Lifshitz-Gilbert (LLG) equation. The auto-oscillations induced within the free-layer averaged magnetization are provoked by externally applied magnetic fields. In addition, the DC current-driven auto-oscillations in the STNO structure are studied as a function of the externally applied magnetic field strength, with and without MFCs. The suppression of the DC current-driven auto-oscillations is observed due to the damping effect generated by the MFCs positioned at varying distances with respect to the STNO. By placing MFCs adjacent to the STNO, the lowest detectable magnetic field strength is enhanced from 10 (μT) to 10 (nT). Therefore, it is concluded that MFCs improve the sensitivity of STNO to externally applied magnetic fields thanks to the damped magnetization dynamics. The results presented in this work could inspire the optimal design of STNO and MFC-based ultra-low magnetic field sensors based on nanoscale oscillators and spintronic diodes.


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Tonini, D., Wu, K., Saha, R., & Wang, J.-P.. 2023. Magnetic field detection using spin-torque nano-oscillator combined with magnetic flux concentrator. AIP Advances, 13(3).