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Rapid-turnaround characterization methods for MRAM development

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3 Author(s)
Abraham, D.W. ; IBM Research Division, Thomas J. Watson Research Center, P.O. Box 218, Yorktown Heights, New York 10598, USA ; Trouilloud, P.L. ; Worledge, D.C.

Magnetic random access memory (MRAM) technology, based on the use of magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs), holds the promise of improving on the capabilities of existing charge-based memories by offering the combination of nonvolatility, speed, and density in a single technology. In this paper we review rapid-turnaround methods which have been developed or applied in new ways to characterize MRAM chips at various stages during processing, with particular emphasis on the MTJs. The methods include current-in-plane tunneling (CIPT), Kerr magnetometry, vibrating sample magnetometry (VSM), and conducting atomic force microscopy (CAFM). Use of the methods has enabled rapid learning with respect to the materials used for the MTJs, as well as tuning of the MTJ geometry in terms of size and shape and of the patterning methods employed. Examples of the use of each of the methods are presented along with interpretation of the data via critical operating parameters.

Note: The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Incorporated is distributing this Article with permission of the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) who is the exclusive owner. The recipient of this Article may not assign, sublicense, lease, rent or otherwise transfer, reproduce, prepare derivative works, publicly display or perform, or distribute the Article.  

Published in:

IBM Journal of Research and Development  (Volume:50 ,  Issue: 1 )