Detection of the interfacial exchange field at a ferromagnetic insulator-nonmagnetic metal interface with pure spin currents
Journal article, 2018
At the interface between a nonmagnetic metal (NM) and a ferromagnetic insulator (FI) spin current can interact with the magnetization, leading to a modulation of the spin current. The interfacial exchange field at these FI-NM interfaces can be probed by placing the interface in contact with the spin transport channel of a lateral spin valve (LSV) device and observing additional spin relaxation processes. We study interfacial exchange field in lateral spin valve devices where a Cu spin transport channel is in proximity with ferromagnetic insulator EuS (EuS-LSV) and yttrium iron garnet Y3Fe5O12 (YIG-LSV). The spin signals were compared with reference lateral spin valve devices fabricated on nonmagnetic Si/SiO2 substrate with MgO or AlOx capping. The nonlocal spin valve signal is about 4 and 6 times lower in the EuS-LSV and YIG-LSV, respectively. The suppression in the spin signal has been attributed to enhanced surface spin-flip probability at the Cu-EuS (or Cu-YIG) interface due to an interfacial spin-orbit field. Besides spin signal suppression we also found a widely observed low temperature peak in the spin signal at T similar to 30 K is shifted to higher temperature in the case of devices in contact with EuS or YIG. Temperature dependence of the spin signal for different injector-detector distances reveal fluctuating exchange field at these interfaces cause additional spin decoherence which limit spin relaxation time in addition to conventional sources of spin relaxation. Our results show that temperature-dependent measurement with pure spin current can be used to probe interfacial exchange field at the ferromagnetic insulator-nonmagnetic metal interface.