Pumping Iron: Revealing Counterintuitive Mechanisms of Magnetization Dynamics
Thin-film magnetic metals are workhorses in nanomagnetic devices, including sensors, memory, and oscillators. Yet, even for the most widely used ferromagnets, we still do not fully understand the mechanisms of key phenomena — such as magnetic damping and spin-orbit torques — for critical device applications. This lecture will highlight progress in revealing rather counterintuitive mechanisms of magnetization dynamics in thin films, especially those based on iron. Depending on the audience, I will delve into one or both of the following recent findings: (1) a fundamental damping mechanism from “procrastinating” electrons in clean iron films; (2) spin-orbit torque from subtle symmetry breaking in iron-nickel alloy films. I aim to convey that even seemingly mundane magnetic metals can exhibit intriguing foundational science, offering fresh perspectives on materials for nanomagnetic devices.