The use of boron-alloyed electrodes with the radio frequency rf sputter deposition of MgO yields magnetic tunnel junctions MTJs with Mg–B–O tunnel barriers. After annealing, such MTJs can exhibit very high tunneling magnetoresistance TMR in the thin 1.0 nm barrier regime. Scanning tunneling spectroscopy of Mg–B–O layers reveals a better defined, but smaller band gap in comparison to that of thin MgO. We produced Fe60Co20B20/Mg–B–O/Ni65Fe15B20 MTJs where after a 350 ° C annealing the Ni–Fe–B free electrode body centered cubic bcc crystal structure and the MTJs achieve 155% TMR.
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