TITLE

Change of the barrier potential shape in magnetic tunnel junctions due to an anneal treatment

AUTHOR(S)
Koller, P. H. P.; Swagten, H. J. M.; de Jonge, W. J. M.; Coehoorn, R.
PUB. DATE
March 2005
SOURCE
Applied Physics Letters;3/7/2005, Vol. 86 Issue 10, p102508
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
A very important process step in the fabrication of magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) is the application of a modest anneal step in the presence of a high magnetic field. Roughly, a doubling of the magnetoresistance (MR) ratio is commonly observed. We show that both AlOx as well as TaOx MTJs with Co90Fe10 electrodes have similar oxidation time and anneal temperature dependencies of the MR ratios. In both cases, the maximum MR ratio shifts to higher oxidation times with annealing. TaOx MTJs are, in this sense, good model systems. From photoconductance experiments we find that for TaOx MTJs, this shift in maximum MR is accompanied by a similar shift of the zero crossing of the oxidation time dependent barrier asymmetry. This directly supports the point of view that for obtaining the highest MR ratio one should anneal MTJs that would be characterized as “slightly overoxidized” in the as-deposited state. We argue that this result can be understood by a homogenization of the oxygen distribution in the barrier, and/or a change of the bottom barrier-electrode interface.
ACCESSION #
16581477

 

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