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Oxidation states and the quality of lower interfaces in magnetic tunnel junctions: oxygen effect on crystallization of interfaces

Journal article
Authors S. Kamali
C. L. Zha
Y. Yoda
Johan Åkerman
Published in Journal of Physics-Condensed Matter
Volume 25
Issue 13
Pages artikel nr 135302
ISSN 0953-8984
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Physics (GU)
Pages artikel nr 135302
Language en
Keywords room-temperature, synchrotron-radiation, magnetoresistance, alloys, reliability, memory, mram, WONG, TMMESERVEY, RMESERVEY, R1995743273PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERSnullMizunuma
Subject categories Physical Sciences


Lower interfaces in magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs), which are the basic components in many spintronic devices such as magnetoresistive random access memories, have crucial effects on the performance of these devices. To obtain more insight into such interfaces, we have introduced an ultrathin sensor layer of 57Fe at the interface between the lower electrode and the oxide barrier in selected MTJs. This allowed us to perform nuclear resonant scattering measurements, which provide direct information on the magnetic properties and quality of the interfaces. The application of nuclear resonant scattering to study interfaces in MTJs is a unique approach in the sense that it gives information at the atomic level, and specifically from the interface where the sensor layer is deposited. Samples with different tunnel barrier thicknesses and varied oxidation times in the preparation of this barrier have been studied. These show that oxidation can not only increase the magnetic hyperfine fields but also cause an interesting smoothing and crystallizing of the interface. Another interesting finding is the observation of boron diffusion into the lower part of the FeCoB lower electrode towards the Ta seed layer.

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