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Role of boron diffusion in CoFeB/MgO magnetic tunnel junctions

Journal article
Authors S. Mukherjee
R. Knut
S. M. Mohseni
T. N. A. Nguyen
S. Chung
Q. T. Le
Johan Åkerman
J. Persson
A. Sahoo
A. Hazarika
B. Pal
S. Thiess
M. Gorgoi
P. S. A. Kumar
W. Drube
O. Karis
D. D. Sarma
Published in Physical Review B
Volume 91
Issue 8
ISSN 1098-0121
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Physics (GU)
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevB.91.0853...
Keywords ENERGY PHOTOELECTRON-SPECTROSCOPY, ROOM-TEMPERATURE, INTERNAL, HETEROSTRUCTURE, MAGNETORESISTANCE, NANOCRYSTALS, Physics, Condensed Matter
Subject categories Physical Sciences

Abstract

Several scientific issues concerning the latest generation read heads for magnetic storage devices, based on CoFeB/MgO/CoFeBmagnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) are known to be controversial, including such fundamental questions as to the behavior and the role of B in optimizing the physical properties of these devices. Quantitatively establishing the internal structures of several such devices with different annealing conditions using hard x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, we resolve these controversies and establish that the B diffusion is controlled by the capping Ta layer, though Ta is physically separated from the layer with B by several nanometers. While explaining this unusual phenomenon, we also provide insight into why the tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR) is optimized at an intermediate annealing temperature, relating it to B diffusion, coupled with our studies based on x-ray diffraction and magnetic studies.

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