Control of spin current by a magnetic YIG substrate in NiFe/Al nonlocal spin valves

We study the effect of a magnetic insulator [yttrium iron garnet (YIG)] substrate on the spin-transport properties of Ni80Fe20/Al nonlocal spin valve (NLSV) devices. The NLSV signal on the YIG substrate is about two to three times lower than that on a nonmagnetic SiO2 substrate, indicating that a significant fraction of the spin current is absorbed at the Al/YIG interface. By measuring the NLSV signal for varying injector-to-detector distances and using a three-dimensional spin-transport model that takes spin-current absorption at the Al/YIG interface into account, we obtain an effective spin-mixing conductance G↑↓ 5–8 × 1013 −1 m−2. We also observe a small, but clear, modulation of the NLSV signal when rotating the YIG magnetization direction with respect to the fixed spin polarization of the spin accumulation in the Al. Spin relaxation due to thermal magnons or roughness of the YIG surface may be responsible for the observed small modulation of the NLSV signal.