We studied the tunnel magnetoresistance (TMR) of L10-FePd perpendicular magnetic tunnel junctions (p-MTJs) with an FePd free layer and an inserted diffusion barrier. The diffusion barriers studied here (Ta and W) were shown to enhance the TMR ratio of the p-MTJs formed using high-temperature annealing, which are necessary for the formation of high quality L10-FePd films and MgO barriers. The L10-FePd p-MTJ stack was developed with an FePd free layer with a stack of FePd/X/Co20Fe60B20, where X is the diffusion barrier, and patterned into micron-sized MTJ pillars. The addition of the diffusion barrier was found to greatly enhance the magneto-transport behavior of the L10-FePd p-MTJ pillars such that those without a diffusion barrier exhibited negligible TMR ratios (<1.0%), whereas those with a Ta (W) diffusion barrier exhibited TMR ratios of 8.0% (7.0%) at room temperature and 35.0% (46.0%) at 10 K after post-annealing at 350 °C. These results indicate that diffusion barriers could play a crucial role in realizing high TMR ratios in bulk p-MTJs such as those based on FePd and Mn-based perpendicular magnetic anisotropy materials for spintronic applications.
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Reporting period for MRSEC
- Period 5