, Volume 59, Issue 4, pp 415-427

A numerical method to solve the Boltzmann equation for a spin valve

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Abstract.

We present a numerical algorithm to solve the Boltzmann equation for the electron distribution function in magnetic multilayer heterostructures with non-collinear magnetizations. The solution is based on a scattering matrix formalism for layers that are translationally invariant in plane so that properties only vary perpendicular to the planes. Physical quantities like spin density, spin current, and spin-transfer torque are calculated directly from the distribution function. We illustrate our solution method with a systematic study of the spin-transfer torque in a spin valve as a function of its geometry. The results agree with a hybrid circuit theory developed by Slonczewski for geometries typical of those measured experimentally.