Spintronic memristors for neuromorphic circuits based on the angular variation of tunnel magnetoresistance
In this study, a new type of compact magnetic memristor is demonstrated. It is based on the variation of the conductivity of a nano-sized magnetic tunnel junction as a function of the angle between the in-plane reference layer magnetization and a free layer exhibiting an isotropic in-plane coercivity. The free layer magnetization is rotated by two spin transfer torque contributions: one originating from the in-plane magnetized reference layer and the other one from an additional perpendicular polarizer integrated in the stack. Thanks to a proper tuning of the relative influence of these two torques, the magnetization of the free layer can be rotated step by step clockwise or anticlockwise in a range of angle between 0° (parallel configuration) and 180° (anti-parallel configuration) by sending pulses of current through the stack, of one or opposite polarity. The amplitude of the rotation steps and therefore of the conductance variations depends on the pulse amplitude and duration. In this way, we achieve monotonous variations of the resistance with the voltage polarity through the application of pulses in the ns range. We also retrieve the analytical expression of critical current density which is found to be in good agreement with the experimental results. The thermal stability of the intermediate resistance levels and the role of Joule heating are also discussed.