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A theoretical study of a spin polarized transport and giant magnetoresistance: The effect of the number of layers in a magnetic multilayer

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4 Author(s)
Noh, Eun Sun ; Department of Materials Science and Engineering, KAIST, 335 Gwahangno, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon 305-701, Korea ; Lee, Hyuck Mo ; Lee, Seung-Cheol ; Ulloa, Sergio E.

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This study presents a quantum-mechanical free electron model for analyzing a spin polarized transport and current-perpendicular-to-the-plane giant magnetoresistance (CPP-GMR) in a more realistic way. The CPP-GMR is evaluated by using three spin resolved conductance parameters based on the Landauer conductance formula. In a ballistic regime, a transfer-matrix method is used to calculate the spin dependent transmission probability as a function of the transverse mode. A spin dependent conduction band structure is constructed by extracting parameters of the free electron model, such as the atomic magnetic moments and the conduction electron densities, from the spin dependent layer-decomposed density of states of the Cu and Co interfacial layers in a Cu5/Co11 slab; these calculations are derived from the density functional theory. As a result, this study shows that the CPP-GMR in a [Cu(5 ML)/Co(11 ML)]n magnetic multilayer (n=2–5) with a 35 ML×35 ML cross section is in the range of 60%–111%. It is qualitatively comparable to the calculation results of first principles. This study also uses transmission probability to explain the increase of spin dependent scattering and CPP-GMR as a function of the number of layers in the [Cu/Co]n magnetic multilayer. Moreover, the study confirms that modification of the free electron model by quantum-mechanical methods can be applied to calculations of a spin polarized transport and CPP-GMR in a specific material system.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:103 ,  Issue: 8 )

Date of Publication:

Apr 2008

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