Repository logo

Spin currents and ferromagnetic resonance in magnetic thin films




Ellsworth, David, author
Wu, Mingzhong, advisor
Camley, Robert, committee member
Menoni, Carmen, committee member
Patton, Carl, committee member
Sites, James, committee member

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Spin currents represent a new and exciting phenomenon. There is both a wealth of new physics to be discovered and understood, and many appealing devices which may result from this area of research. To fully realize the potential of this discipline it is necessary to develop new methods for realizing spin currents and explore new materials which may be suitable for spin current applications. Spin currents are an inherently dynamic phenomenon involving the transfer of angular momentum within and between different thin films. In order to understand and optimize such devices the dynamics of magnetization must be determined. This dissertation reports on novel approaches for spin current generation utilizing the magnetic insulators yttrium iron garnet (YIG) and M-type barium hexagonal ferrite (BaM). First, the light-induced spin Seebeck effect is reported for the first time in YIG. Additionally, the first measurement of the spin Seebeck effect without an external magnetic field is demonstrated. To accomplish this the self-biased BaM thin films are utilized. Second, a new method for the generation of spin currents is presented: the photo-spin-voltaic effect. In this new phenomenon, a spin current may be generated by photons in a non-magnetic metal that is in close proximity to a magnetic insulator. On exposure to light, there occurs a light induced, spin-dependent excitation of electrons in a few platinum layers near the metal/magnetic insulator interface. This excitation gives rise to a pure spin current which flows in the metal. This new effect is explored in detail and extensive measurements are carried out to confirm the photonic origin of the photo-spin-voltaic effect and exclude competing effects. In addition to the spin current measurements, magnetization dynamics were probed in thin films using ferromagnetic resonance (FMR). In order to determine the optimal material configuration for magnetic recording write heads, FMR measurements were used to perform damping studies on a set of FeCo samples with different numbers of lamination layers. The use of lamination layers has the potential to tune the damping in such films, while leaving the other magnetic properties unchanged. Finally, the sensitivity of the vector network analyzer FMR technique was improved. The use of field modulation and lock-in detection, along with the background subtraction of a Mach-Zehnder microwave interferometer working as a notch filter, is able to increase the sensitivity and lower the background noise of this measurement technique. This improved system opens the possibility of probing previously difficult samples with extremely low signals.


Rights Access


photo-spin-voltaic effect
spin hall effect
thin films
spin currents
ferromagnetic resonance
spin Seebeck effect


Associated Publications