TITLE

Effects of oxide seed and cap layers on magnetic properties of a synthetic spin valve

AUTHOR(S)
Lin, Tsann; Mauri, Daniele
PUB. DATE
April 2001
SOURCE
Applied Physics Letters;4/9/2001, Vol. 78 Issue 15, p2181
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
A synthetic spin valve comprising Al[sub 2]O[sub 3]/Ni-Cr-Fe/Ni-Fe/Pt-Mn/Co-Fe/Ru/Co-Fe/Cu/Co-Fe/Ni-Fe/Cu/Al[sub 2]O[sub 3]/Ta films has been annealed and evaluated as a read sensor for ultrahigh-density (>=20 Gb/in.[sup 2]) recording. The Al[sub 2]O[sub 3] film used as its oxide seed layer provides an in situ flat surface for the Pt-Mn, Co-Fe and Ni-Fe films to develop strong {111} crystalline textures, thereby increasing its giant magnetoresistance coefficient to as high as 13.8%. Another Al[sub 2]O[sub 3] film used as its oxide cap layer protects the Co-Fe/Ni-Fe sense layers from interface mixing and oxygen interdiffusion, thus improving the soft magnetic properties and thermal stability of the sense layers. Antiferromagnetic/ferromagnetic coupling between the Pt-Mn pinning and Co-Fe/Ru/Co-Fe synthetic pinned layers is strong and thermally stable enough for proper sensor operation. Ferromagnetic/ferromagnetic coupling across the Cu spacer layer is antiparallel, and hence it is feasible to achieve optimal biasing of magnetoresistance responses. This synthetic spin valve is sandwiched into a read gap 0.1 μm in thickness, and is patterned and lapped into a read sensor 0.42 and 0.23 μm in physical width and height, respectively. With a sense current of 4 mA, this read sensor exhibits an effective read width of 0.31 μm, stable magnetoresistance responses, and signal sensitivity of 6.64 mV/μm.
ACCESSION #
4710519

 

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