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Switching field distribution in magnetic tunnel junctions with a synthetic antiferromagnetic free layer

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6 Author(s)
Jeong, W.C. ; IEEE Fellow Advanced Technology Development, Semiconductor R&D Division, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. San #24, Nongseo-Ri, Giheung-Eup, Yongin-City, Gyeonggi-Do 449-711, Korea ; Park, J.H. ; Koh, G.H. ; Jeong, G.T.
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By replacing the traditional single magnetic free layer in magnetic random access memory (MRAM) with a synthetic antiferromagnetic (SAF) layer composed of two antiferromagnetically coupled layers, the possibility of the kink generation has been suppressed to a minimum level and the normalized free-layer shift has been reduced from 15% to less than 5%. These phenomena are thought to be from the reduction of the effective thickness and magnetic moment by introducing a SAF free layer. Since the SAF free layer decreases the magnetostatic interaction with the pinned layer, free-layer shift is also decreased. A SAF free layer forms a closed magnetic loop between two antiferromagnetically coupled layers. Therefore, it increases a tendency to become a single domain and its switching field distribution is enhanced. With the optimized SAF free layer, array quality factor [AQF, σ(Hc)/Hc] is increased to more than 10 and switching window could be obtained which is the area to be selectively switched in the memory cell array. When adopted in a 64-kb MRAM, it is confirmed that cells can be selectively switched without the disturbance to the other cells.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:97 ,  Issue: 10 )