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Numerical simulation of current density induced magnetic failure for giant magnetoresistance spin valve read sensors

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4 Author(s)
Gui Zeng, Ding ; Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Biomagnetics Laboratory (BML), National University of Singapore, Singapore 117576 ; Chung, Kyung-Won ; Judy, J.H. ; Bae, Seongtae

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It was numerically demonstrated that current-in-plane (CIP) and current-perpendicular-to-plane (CPP) Ir20Mn80 based giant magnetoresistance spin valve read sensors operating at an extremely high current density (J≥1×108 A/cm2) show completely different electrical and magnetic failure mechanisms: (1) CIP read sensors, electromigration-induced Cu spacer diffusion and correspondingly degraded interlayer coupling were primarily responsible for the failures; while, (2) CPP read sensors, the deterioration of exchange bias due to thermomigration-induced Mn interdiffusion at the Co80Fe20/Ir20Mn80 interface was found to be dominant. The different temperature and current distribution resulting in different mass-transport mechanisms are the main physical reasons for the failure.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:108 ,  Issue: 2 )