Buffer influence on magnetic dead layer, critical current and thermal stability in magnetic tunnel junctions with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy

  • Frankowski M
  • Żywczak A
  • Czapkiewicz M
 et al. 
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We present a thorough research on Ta/Ru-based buffers and their influence on features crucial from the point of view of applications of MTJs, such as critical switching current and thermal stability. We investigate devices consisting of buffer/FeCoB/MgO/FeCoB/Ta/Ru multilayers for three different buffers: Ta 5 / Ru 10 / Ta 3, Ta 5 / Ru 10 / Ta 10 and Ta 5 / Ru 20 / Ta 5 (all thicknesses in nm). In addition, we study systems with a single FeCoB layer deposited above as well as below the MgO barrier. The crystallographic texture and the roughness of the buffers are determined by means of XRD and atomic force microscopy measurements. Furthermore, we examine the magnetic domain pattern, the magnetic dead layer thickness and the perpendicular magnetic anisotropy fields for each sample. Finally, we investigate the effect of the current induced magnetization switching for nanopillar junctions with lateral dimensions ranging from 1 {\mu}m down to 140 nm. Buffer Ta 5 / Ru 10 / Ta 3, which has the thickest dead layer, exhibits a large increase in the thermal stability factor while featuring a slightly lower critical current density value when compared to the buffer with the thinnest dead layer Ta 5 / Ru 20 / Ta 5.

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  • Marek Frankowski

  • Antoni Żywczak

  • Maciej Czapkiewicz

  • Sławomir Ziętek

  • Jarosław Kanak

  • Monika Banasik

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