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I am trying really hard to understand the concept of spin-orbit torque. It is a new-ish discovery in the field of spintronics and has many applications for magnetic devices. The information that has been published on it thus far is too advanced for me, although I have tried to understand it.

Here are some things that I have been told and am trying to piece together:

  1. Spin-orbit torques arise from the spin hall effect creating a spin-current, which then provides a spin-transfer torque that acts on the magnetization of a ferromagnet. Something that arises from this interaction is called a spin-orbit torque.
  2. I know that it is not the same thing as spin-transfer torque.
  3. It has also been called a "spin-orbit field," and that a "spin hall field" would have been a more appropriate name, because it does create an "effective" field. The name is confusing because there is debate about what causes it (either the spin hall effect, the Rashba effect, or both).
  4. I know that the Landau-Lifshitz-Gilbert equation is relevant. I believe one of the terms may be referred to as "spin-orbit torque."

Here is a (lengthy) review paper on the topic: http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/roypta/369/1948/3175.full.pdf

I am an undergraduate, so I would appreciate answers that are not overly complicated. I am merely looking for a conceptual understanding of what this means.

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