We studied the magnetoresistance of normal metal (NM)/ferromagnet (FM) bilayers in the linear and nonlinear (current-dependent) regimes and compared it with the amplitude of the spin-orbit torques and thermally induced electric fields. Our experiments reveal that the magnetoresistance of the heavy NM/Co bilayers (NM = Ta, W, and Pt) is phenomenologically similar to the spin Hall magnetoresistance (SMR) of YIG/Pt, but has a much larger anisotropy of the order of 0.5%, which increases with the atomic number of the NM. This SMR-like behavior is absent in light NM/Co bilayers (NM = Ti and Cu), which present the standard anisotropic magnetoresistance expected from polycrystalline FM layers. In the Ta, W, and Pt/Co bilayers, we find an additional magnetoresistance directly proportional to the current and to the transverse component of the magnetization. This so-called unidirectional SMR, of the order of 0.005%, is largest in W and correlates with the amplitude of the antidamping spin-orbit torque. The unidirectional SMR is below the accuracy of our measurements in YIG/Pt.

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