Search for nuclear magnetic resonance evidence of spin accumulation

Developments towards an understanding of the nature of conductance at the interface between two different metallic layers – ferromagnetic and non magnetic – as well as the discovery of giant magnetoresistance have stirred attention from both the scientific community as well as the electronics industry, with the prospect of using the spin of electrons in fast, nano-sized electronic devices. The spin polarization obtained by driving a current through a magnetic nanostructure is referred to as "spin accumulation". In this thesis work, we use 59Co zero-field nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) under an additional current in order to probe spin accumulation. To the best of our knowledge, no local measurement of spin accumulation has yet been reported. NMR was chosen as the most appropriate technique for this study, as it is a local probe of the electronic structure and its dynamics. In the first part of this thesis, we present the main characteristics of NMR in ferromagnets. We also discuss the effect expected in the NMR due to spin accumulation. In the second part, we describe and characterize the different samples that we investigated during this study: granular samples, multilayered nanowires and micro-pillars. The third part is devoted to the description of 59Co NMR lineshapes obtained for different samples. In addition, we measured the spin-spin and spin-lattice relaxation times in the Co/Cu granular samples. This study is of tremendous importance to choosing the best candidate sample for NMR experiments under additional current. Finally, we used a method of electrically excited and electrically detected ferromagnetic nuclear resonance (EDFNR) developed during the course of this work. This technique presents several advantages over standard FNR: neither coil nor resonant circuit is needed and, overall, EDFNR opens the possibility of studying samples with much fewer nuclei than is achievable with standard nuclear resonance methods. This could provide an important development to decrease the current needed for the same current density in the samples, which is of great interest due to the smaller magnetic field created by the reduced current. EDFNR was applied to measure the nuclear resonance in the samples under an additional applied current. The current densities achieved were high enough to induce measurable effects in the EDFNR spectra, which are interpreted in the final part.

Related material