Current-induced resonance and mass determination of a single magnetic domain wall

Nature. 2004 Nov 11;432(7014):203-6. doi: 10.1038/nature03009.


A magnetic domain wall (DW) is a spatially localized change of magnetization configuration in a magnet. This topological object has been predicted to behave at low energy as a composite particle with finite mass. This particle will couple directly with electric currents as well as magnetic fields, and its manipulation using electric currents is of particular interest with regard to the development of high-density magnetic memories. The DW mass sets the ultimate operation speed of these devices, but has yet to be determined experimentally. Here we report the direct observation of the dynamics of a single DW in a ferromagnetic nanowire, which demonstrates that such a topological particle has a very small but finite mass of 6.6 x 10(-23) kg. This measurement was realized by preparing a tunable DW potential in the nanowire, and detecting the resonance motion of the DW induced by an oscillating current. The resonance also allows low-current operation, which is crucial in device applications; a DW displacement of 10 microm was induced by a current density of 10(10) A m(-2).