Fe diffusion, oxidation, and reduction at the CoFeB/MgO interface studied by soft x-ray absorption spectroscopy and magnetic circular dichroism

Hindmarch, A. T.; Dempsey, K. J.; Ciudad, D.; Negusse, E.; Arena, D. A.; Marrows, C. H.
March 2010
Applied Physics Letters;3/1/2010, Vol. 96 Issue 9, p092501
Academic Journal
We have studied the effect of annealing on the interface magnetization in a CoFeB/MgO structure which models the lower electrode in a magnetic tunnel junction device. We find that MgO deposition causes Fe to diffuse toward the CoFeB/MgO interface, where it preferentially bonds with oxygen to form a Fe-O-rich interfacial region with reduced magnetization. After annealing at 375 °C the compositional inhomogeneity remains; Fe is reduced back to a ferromagnetic metallic state and the full interfacial magnetization is regained.


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