Origin of the Inverse Spin Switch Effect in Superconducting Spin Valves

Research paper by J. Zhu, X. Cheng, C. Boone, I. N. Krivorotov

Indexed on: 28 Feb '09Published on: 28 Feb '09Published in: Physics - Superconductivity


The resistance of a ferromagnet/superconductor/ferromagnet (F/S/F) spin valve near its superconducting transition temperature, $T_c$, depends on the state of magnetization of the F layers. This phenomenon, known as spin switch effect (SSE), manifests itself as a resistance difference between parallel ($R_P$) and antiparallel ($R_{AP}$) configurations of the F layers. Both standard ($R_{P}>R_{AP}$) and inverse ($R_{P}<R_{AP}$) SSE have been observed in different superconducting spin valve systems, but the origin of the inverse SSE was not understood. Here we report observation of a coexistence of the standard and inverse SSE in Ni$_{81}$Fe$_{19}$/Nb/Ni$_{81}$Fe$_{19}$/Ir$_{25}$Mn$_{75}$ spin valves. Our measurements reveal that the inverse SSE arises from a dissipative flow of vortices induced by stray magnetic fields from magnetostatically coupled N\'eel domain wall pairs in the F layers.