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Highly sensitive strain sensors based on magnetic tunneling junctions

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6 Author(s)
Lohndorf, M. ; Center of Advanced European Studies and Research (CAESAR), Friedensplatz 16, 53111 Bonn, Germany ; Duenas, T. ; Tewes, M. ; Quandt, E.
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Micrometer-sized highly sensitive strain sensors are presented. The sensors are based on magnetic tunneling junctions (MTJs) incorporating magnetostrictive free layers. The influence of mechanical strain upon the free layer is explained by a model taking into account the total free energy of the sensing layer. Those MTJ devices prepared in situ with magnetostrictive Fe50Co50 layers exhibit a tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR) ratio of 48%. The changes in strain ΔЄ on the order of 0.4 parts per thousand (222740) result in resistance changes of 24%, which in turn leads to gauge factors [(ΔR/R)/ΔЄ] on the order of 600, whereas gauge factors of 2–4 are typical for metal based, and 40–180 for piezoresistive semiconductor strain gauges. © 2002 American Institute of Physics.

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Applied Physics Letters  (Volume:81 ,  Issue: 2 )