Influence of Pinholes on MgO-Tunnel Junction Barrier Parameters Obtained from Current–Voltage Characteristics

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Magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) with thin barriers are already used as read sensors in recording media. However, the presence of pinholes across such few Å thick barriers cannot be excluded and one needs to investigate their effect on the MTJ-transport properties. By applying large electrical currents we could change the electrical resistance of the studied MgO MTJs (due to pinhole-size variations), and study how pinholes influence the barrier parameters (thickness t and height ) obtained by fitting current–voltage characteristics to Simmons' model. We found that, with decreasing resistance, the barrier thickness (height) decreases (increases). These results were well reproduced by a model of parallel-resistances, allowing us to estimate pinhole-free barrier parameters.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2010

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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