Annealing Effects on the Microstructure and Magnetoresistance of Magnetic Tunnel Junctions with MgO-Barrier

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Abstract:

Thermal annealing effect on the microstructure and potential distribution for Co40Fe40B20/MgO/Co40Fe40B20 magnetic tunnel junctions is investigated by high-resolution electron microscopy and electron holography. The experimental results demonstrate that thermal annealing could result in notable crystallization in both ferromagnetic electrodes and MgO barriers and could also yield sharper interfaces and symmetrical potential for CoFeB/MgO/CoFeB junctions. The effective barrier height for CoFeB/MgO is estimated to be about 2.45 eV, in fundamentally agreement with the data of the magnetoresistance and the IV characteristics. These results suggest that the microstructure of the MTJs play an important role for the coherent tunneling processes that give rise to the large tunnel magnetoresistance.

Keywords: ANNEALING; MAGNETIC TUNNEL JUNCTIONS; MAGNETORESISTANCE; MGO-BARRIER; MICROSTRUCTURE

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1166/jamr.2010.1019

Publication date: April 1, 2010

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  • Journal of Advanced Microscopy Research (JAMR) provides a forum for rapid dissemination of important developments in high-resolution microscopy techniques to image, characterize and analyze man-made and natural samples; to study physicochemical phenomena such as abrasion, adhesion, corrosion and friction; to perform micro and nanofabrication, lithography, patterning, micro and nanomanipulation; theory and modeling, as well as their applications in all areas of science, engineering, and medicine.
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