Microscopic and electronic roles of B in CoFeB-based magnetic tunnel junctions

  • Han Y
  • Han J
  • Choi H
 et al. 
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The giant tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR) in lattice-matched crystalline magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) strongly depends on the majority-spin [capital Delta]1 bands of ferromagnetic electrodes. Our synchrotron radiation X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and first-principles calculations show that B atoms suppress the formation of CoFe-O during CoFeB deposition in CoFeB/MgO/CoFeB MTJs, thereby lessening an effect that significantly degrades the majority-spin [capital Delta]1 bands, and that CoFe-B has properties superior to CoFe-O in electron conduction in the majority-spin [capital Delta]1 bands. During annealing, some of the B in CoFeB diffuses out, enhancing the valence bands of metallic CoFe, which improves the TMR value even further. Our present work elucidates the microscopic and electronic roles of B in MgO MTJs with CoFeB electrodes.

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  • Yoonsung Han

  • Jinhee Han

  • Hyoung Joon Choi

  • Hyun-Joon Shin

  • Jongill Hong

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