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Enhancing Spin Transfer Torque in Magnetic Tunnel Junction Devices: Exploring the Influence of Capping Layer Materials and Thickness on Device Characteristics

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Version 2 2023-06-01, 16:00
Version 1 2023-03-24, 16:02
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posted on 2023-06-01, 16:00 authored by Tahereh Sadat Parvini, Elvira Paz, Tim Böhnert, Alejandro Schulman, Luana Benetti, Felix Oberbauer, Jakob Walowski, Farshad Moradi, Ricardo Ferreira, Markus Münzenberg
We have developed and optimized two categories of spin transfer torque magnetic tunnel junctions (STT-MTJs) that exhibit a high tunnel magnetoresistance (TMR) ratio, low critical current, high outputpower in the micro watt range, and auto-oscillation behavior. These characteristics demonstrate the potential of STT-MTJs for low-power, high-speed, and reliable spintronic applications, including magnetic memory, logic, and signal processing. The only distinguishing factor between the two categories, denoted as A-MTJs and B-MTJs, is the composition of their free layers, 2 CoFeB/0.21 Ta/6 CoFeSiB for A-MTJs and 2 CoFeB/0.21 Ta/7 NiFe for B-MTJs. Our study reveals that B-MTJs exhibit lower critical currents for auto-oscillation than A-MTJs. We found that both stacks have comparable saturation magnetization and anisotropy field, suggesting that the difference in auto-oscillation behavior is due to the higher damping of A-MTJs compared to B-MTJs. To verify this hypothesis, we employed the all-optical time-resolved magneto-optical Kerr effect (TRMOKE) technique, which confirmed that STT-MTJs with lower damping exhibited auto-oscillation at lower critical current values. Additionally, our study aimed to optimize the STT-MTJ performance by investigating the impact of the capping layer on the device's response to electronic and optical stimuli.

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