Prospects for Using Magnetic Insulators in Spintronics

By Mingzhong Wu

Department of Physics, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO

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In recent years there has been an increasingly strong interest in exploring the possibility of using magnetic insulators in spin electronics.  This interest derives from the two main features of magnetic insulators, electric insulation and low damping, which encompass the large potential of using magnetic insulators to make energy-efficient computing devices.  This presentation consists of two parts, which together will provide some perspective on the future of using magnetic insulators in spintronics.  The first part will touch on the feasibility of using magnetic insulators, in particular, Y3Fe5O12 and BaFe12O19, to produce pure spin currents into neighboring heavy metals. We will start with brief discussions on the spin pumping and spin Seebeck effects and then have detailed discussions on the photo-spin-voltaic effect, a new effect which we discovered recently. The second part will demonstrate the possibility of controlling magnetization in a magnetic insulator by the use of spin currents in an adjacent heavy metal.  We will discuss the use of spin-orbit torque (SOT) to manipulate spin waves in Y3Fe5O12 films first and then demonstrate the SOT-assisted magnetization switching in BaFe12O19 films with strong perpendicular magnetic anisotropy.  In terms of interfacial spin transfer, the first part concerns the flow of spins from magnetic insulators to neighboring heavy metals, while the second addresses the reciprocal effect – spin transfer into magnetic insulators from heavy metals


Mingzhong Wu received his Ph.D. in Solid State Electronics from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in 1999, joined the faculty of Colorado State University (CSU) in 2007, and is currently an Associate Professor of Physics at CSU.  He is interested in many research topics in magnetics.  His current research areas include magnetization dynamics, spintronics, nonlinear spin waves, thin film growth, and microwave magnetic materials and devices.  He has authored/coauthored about 110 publications.  Recently he has also co-edited a book on magnetic insulators (392 pages).  He is currently serving as the Financial Chair of the IEEE Magnetics Society and an Associate Editor for IEEE Magnetics Letters.

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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Mingzhong Wu (2016), "Prospects for Using Magnetic Insulators in Spintronics,"

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