MgO-based double barrier magnetic tunnel junctions with thin free layers

G. Feng*, Sebastiaan van Dijken, J. M D Coey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The free layer thickness (tfree) in double barrier magnetic tunnel junctions (DMTJs) based on crystalline MgO barriers and CoFeB ferromagnetic layers has been varied from 0.5 to 3.0 nm in order to investigate its effect on the magnetic and electrical properties. One obvious feature of DMTJs with tfree 1 nm is the absence of sharp free layer switching in the TMR curves, which can be explained by the superparamagnetic nature of discontinuous CoFeB layer, which breaks into nanodots when it is very thin. Normal free layer switch is observed when tfree =2.0 and 3.0 nm. Another difference is a rapid increase in junction resistance and tunnel magnetoresistance at low temperature for DMTJs with thin tfree, which is attributed to the Coulomb blockade effect. We also observed a small conductance peak in the dI/dV curve at low bias only in the parallel configuration and at temperatures below 100 K. This is related to the Kondo scattering process on the nanodots, which constitutes the discontinuous free layer. We found no Coulomb staircase existing in the I-V curves; this may be due to the microsize of the junctions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number07C926
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2009
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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