May 15, 2013

Researchers from Tohoku Univeristy generated a new kind of magnetoresistance in a system with an insulating magnet. They call this new phenomenon Spin Hall magnetoresistance (SMR). In SMR, the current does not need to pass through a magnet. The researchers developed a system in which a normal metal is put in contact with a magnetic insulator. The resistance of the normal metal is influenced by the magnetization in the insulating magnet even though none of the charge current is able to pass through the magnet.

Spin Hall magnetoresistance image

The SMR effect is a result of spin current being able to flow from the metal into the magnetic insulator. The rate of this spin transfer depends on the magnetization direction of the insulator. The more spin current passing across the metal-insulator interface, the weaker the charge current flowing through the metal.