Surface enhanced spin-flip scattering in lateral spin valves

Mikhail Erekhinsky, Amos Sharoni, F̀lix Casanova, Ivan K. Schuller

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49 Scopus citations


Nonlocal transport in Py/Cu lateral spin valves shows that the Cu spin diffusion length and the apparent Py spin polarization increase with Cu thickness. A proper quantitative analysis shows that the Cu spin diffusion length is dominated by surface spin-flip scattering and that the Py and Cu thickness dependence of spin polarization is due to strong spin-flip back-scattering at the Py/Cu interface. This solves a long-standing puzzle regarding the discrepancy in Py spin polarizations obtained from different measurements. Interestingly, the Cu surface oxidation causes enhanced spin diffusion, contrary to expectations. These surface effects substantially affect the performance of lateral spin valves.

Original languageEnglish
Article number022513
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Professor J. Bass, Professor W.P. Pratt, and Professor N. Birge for interesting correspondence and Professor H. Suhl for illuminating discussions. This work was funded by the U.S. DOE.


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