Order of magnitude improvement of nano-contact spin torque nano-oscillator performance
Spin torque nano-oscillators (STNO) represent a unique class of nano-scale microwave signal generators and offer a combination of intriguing properties, such as nano sized footprint, ultrafast modulation rates, and highly tunable microwave frequencies from 100 MHz to close to 100 GHz. However, their low output power and relatively high threshold current still limit their applicability and must be improved. In this study, we investigate the influence of the bottom Cu electrode thickness (tCu) in nano-contact STNOs based on Co/Cu/NiFe GMR stacks and with nano-contact diameters ranging from 60 to 500 nm. Increasing tCu from 10 to 70 nm results in a 40% reduction of the threshold current, an order of magnitude higher microwave output power, and close to two orders of magnitude better power conversion efficiency. Numerical simulations of the current distribution suggest that these dramatic improvements originate from a strongly reduced lateral current spread in the magneto-dynamically active region.