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Current-Induced Magnetization Switching in MgO Barrier Magnetic Tunnel Junctions With CoFeB-Based Synthetic Ferrimagnetic Free Layers

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15 Author(s)
Jun Hayakawa ; Adv. Res. Lab., Hitachi, Ltd., Kokubunji ; Shoji Ikeda ; Katsuya Miura ; Michihiko Yamanouchi
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We investigated the effect of using a synthetic ferrimagnetic (SyF) free layer in MgO-based magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) on current-induced magnetization switching (CIMS), particularly for application to spin-transfer torque random access memory (SPRAM). The employed SyF free layer had a Co40Fe40B20/Ru/Co40Fe40B20and Co20Fe60B20/Ru/Co20Fe60B20structures, and the MTJs (100 times (150-300) nm2) were annealed at 300 degC. The use of SyF free layer resulted in low intrinsic critical current density (J c0) without degrading the thermal-stability factor (E/k B T, where E, k B, and T are the energy potential, the Boltzmann constant, and temperature, respectively). When the two CoFeB layers of a strongly antiferromagnetically coupled SyF free layer had the same thickness, J c0 was reduced to 2-4 times106 A/cm2. This low J c0 may be due to the decreased effective volume under the large spin accumulation at the CoFeB/Ru. The E/k B T was over 60, resulting in a retention time of over ten years and suppression of the write current dispersion for SPRAM. The use of the SyF free layer also resulted in a bistable (parallel/antiparallel) magnetization configuration at zero field, enabling the realization of CIMS without the need to apply external fields to compensate for the offset field.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Magnetics  (Volume:44 ,  Issue: 7 )