Perpendicular magnetic tunnel junctions (pMTJs) with synthetic antiferromagnetic (SAF) free layers have attracted much interest for applications on spintronic memory devices with ultrafast speed and ultralow energy. In this work, SAF free layer pMTJs (SAF-pMTJs) were designed and fabricated, in which a Ru/Ta bilayer spacer is used to form the SAF structure. We first characterized the magnetization dynamics of the SAF free layer by using ferromagnetic resonance and found that the Gilbert damping constant of the SAF free layer is around 0.019. Then, in device level studies that span from 900 nm down to 200 nm lateral size, we observed a transition of the SAF free layer from a preferred antiparallel to parallel magnetic configuration at small device sizes, which can be explained by the increased dipole interaction. The impact of the operating current was also investigated. We report an extraordinarily strong dependence, up to 144.1 kOe per A/ μm2, of the offset field on the applied current, suggesting an electric-field modulation on the interlayer exchange coupling of the SAF free layer. These results will be instructive to improve the understanding of material properties and device performance of SAF-pMTJs for ultrafast, ultralow-power consumption spintronic devices.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Applied Physics Letters|
|State||Published - Jan 3 2022|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported in part by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) via No. HR001117S0056-FP-042 “Advanced MTJs for computation in and near random access memory” and by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Portions of this work were conducted in the Minnesota Nano Center, which was supported by the National Science Foundation through the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) under Award No. ECCS-2025124.
© 2022 Author(s).