Theory of spin-transfer torque and domain wall motion in magnetic nanostructures

S. E. Barnes, Sadamichi Maekawa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter develops the theory for the dynamics of domain walls in the context of spin electronic devices. The transfer of angular momentum (torque transfer) between an electrical current and a magnetic domain is discussed in the context of the Landau-Lifshitz equations and different relaxation models. In the context of these equations the transfer is reflected by a finite divergence of the spin current. In this context the Stoner and local moment models of ferromagnets are introduced. The Landau-Lifshitz description involves the classical magnetization and such a description implies a coupling to the environment which continually 'measures' the system. The experimental consequences of this are elaborated. The essential role of a 'spin motive force' in connection with conservation of energy is explained, and some device applications are outlined. The Lagrangian description of the dynamical modes of spin valves and domain walls is developed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationConcepts in Spin Electronics
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9780191718212
ISBN (Print)9780198568216
StatePublished - Sep 1 2007


  • Domain dynamics
  • Domain wall motion
  • Ferromagnetic relaxation
  • Magnetic random access memory
  • Spin valves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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