Origin of inverse tunneling magnetoresistance in a symmetric junction revealed by delaminating the buried electronic interface

Yang, J. Joshua; Xiang, Hua; Ji, Chengxiang; Stickle, William F.; Stewart, Duncan R.; Ohlberg, Douglas A. A.; Williams, R. Stanley; Chang, Y. Austin
December 2009
Applied Physics Letters;12/7/2009, Vol. 95 Issue 23, p233117
Academic Journal
Electrical properties of modern electronic devices are usually controlled by the physical and chemical structure of one or more buried material interfaces. Accessing these buried interfaces by energetic ion milling can destroy this structural information. We report a delamination technique that exposes pristine buried interfaces for x-ray photoemission spectroscopy. We use this technique to show that unusual inverse tunneling magnetoresistance in a nominally symmetric (Co,Fe)/AlOx/(Co,Fe) magnetic tunnel junction devices is attributable to subtle over-oxidation of the lower AlOx/CoFe interface. Ion-milling investigation of the same samples misleads by chemically reducing the signature Fe oxide species during milling.


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