Phys. Rev. B 94, 060402(R) – Published 2 August 2016
Time-resolved scanning Kerr microscopy has been used to directly image the magnetization dynamics of nanocontact (NC) spin-torque vortex oscillators (STVOs) when phase locked to an injected microwave (rf) current. The Kerr images reveal free-layer magnetization dynamics that extend outside the NC footprint, where they cannot be detected electrically, but which are crucial to phase-lock STVOs that share common magnetic layers. For a single NC, dynamics were observed not only when the STVO frequency was fully locked to that of the rf current, but also for a partially locked state characterized by periodic changes in the core trajectory at the rf frequency. For a pair of NCs, we explore the correlation between the spatial character of injection-locked dynamics and the free-running spectra. Insight gained from these images may improve understanding of the conditions required for mutual phase locking of multiple STVOs, and hence enhanced microwave power emission.