Spin-angular momentum transfer (or spin-transfer for short) describes the angular momentum exchange between a spin-polarized current and a ferromagnetic conductor. When the conductor dimensions are reduced to around 100nm or below, the spin-angular momentum transfer effect becomes significant compared to the current-induced
magnetic field. This paper describes some recent spin-transfer experimental findings in sub-100nm current-perpendicular spin-valve systems consisting of Co-Cu-Co nanopillars. The spin-transfer current is shown to cause a magnetic reversal of the thinner magnetic layer inside the nanopillar. The reversal is experimentally
shown to reach sub-nanosecond speed. The effect of spin-transfer is best understood in terms of its modification to the effective Landau-Lifshiz-Gilbert damping coefficient, either increasing or decreasing its value depending on the direction and magnitude of the spin-polarized current. For sufficiently large spin-current, the net damping coefficient may change sign, resulting in amplification of magnetic precession, leading to a magnetic reversal. At finite temperatures, the effect of spin-transfer is to either increase or decrease the thermal agitation of the nanomagnet. A quantitative model is developed that adequately describes the finite temperature experimental observations of the dynamic spin-transfer effect.© (2004) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.