Asymptotic behavior of tunneling magnetoresistance in epitaxial MgO tunnel junctions

  • Autès G
  • Mathon J
  • Umerski A
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Almost a decade after the theoretical prediction of large tunneling
magnetoresistance ratio {(TMR)} in epitaxial {Fe/MgO/Fe} tunneling
junctions, there is still debate on how the {TMR} should behave as
a function of {MgO} thickness for thick {MgO.} In this Brief Report
we prove that the optimistic {TMR} grows indefinitely with {MgO}
thickness, and in particular, that for large {MgO} thicknesses it
must grow linearly. This rather surprising result is obtained using
straightforward and completely general asymptotic analysis and is
applicable to other tunneling junctions with {MgO} barrier. We give
a simple formula for the growth of {TMR} and show that it is in excellent
agreement with computational studies on realistic epitaxial systems.
The formula also provides a valuable test to check that numerical
studies are converging to the correct answer.

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