The large spin-orbit coupling in topological insulators results in helical spin-textured Dirac surface states that are attractive for topological spintronics. These states generate an efficient spin-orbit torque on proximal magnetic moments. However, memory or logic spin devices based upon such switching require a non-optimal three-terminal geometry, with two terminals for the writing current and one for reading the state of the device. An alternative two-terminal device geometry is now possible by exploiting the recent discovery of the unidirectional spin Hall magnetoresistance in heavy metal/ferromagnet bilayers and unidirectional magnetoresistance in magnetic topological insulators. Here, we report the observation of such unidirectional magnetoresistance in a technologically relevant device geometry that combines a topological insulator with a conventional ferromagnetic metal. Our devices show a figure of merit (magnetoresistance per current density per total resistance) that is more than twice as large as the highest reported values in all-metal Ta/Co bilayers.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported in part by C-SPIN, one of six centers of STARnet, a Semiconductor Research Corporation program, sponsored by MARCO and DARPA. We would like to thank Timothy Peterson and Gordon Stecklein at University of Minnesota for their help on the usage of PPMS.
© 2018 The Author(s).