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학술지 Effects of Controlling Cu Spacer Inter-Diffusion by Diffusion Barriers on the Magnetic and Electrical Stability of GMR Spin-Valve Devices
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Jing Jiang, Ding Gui Zeng, 류호준, Kyung-Won Chung, Seongtae Bae
Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, v.322 no.13, pp.1834-1840
An ultra-thin Co or CoFe diffusion barrier inserted at the NiFe/Cu interfaces was revealed to effectively control the electrical and magnetic stability of NiFe/Cu/NiFe-based giant magnetoresistance (GMR) spin-valve spintronics devices (SVSDs) operating at high current density. It was found that the activation energy, Ea, related to the electromigration (EM)-induced inter-diffusion process for the patterned NiFe(3)/Cu(2)/NiFe(3 nm) magnetic multi-layered devices (MMLD) was remarkably increased from 0.52짹0.2 eV to 1.17짹0.16 eV after the insertion of an ultra-thin Co diffusion barrier at the NiFe/Cu interfaces. The dramatically reduced "current shunting paths" from the Cu spacer to the NiFe thin films and the development of "self-healing process" resulted from the effectively restrained Cu inter-diffusion (intermixing with Ni atoms) due to the diffusion barriers were found to be primarily responsible for the improvement of electrical and magnetic stability. The further investigation on the effects of controlling Cu spacer inter-diffusion by diffusion barriers on the EM and thermomigration (TM)-induced magnetic degradation was carried out for the NiFe/(Co or Co90Fe10)/Cu/(Co or Co90Fe10)/NiFe/FeMn top exchange-biased GMR (EBGMR) SVSDs electrically stressed under the applied DC current density of J=2.5×107 A/cm2 (I=16.5~17.25 mA). It was clearly confirmed that the Co and the CoFe diffusion barriers effectively control the Cu spacer inter-diffusion resulting in a smaller reduction in both GMR ratio and exchange bias field of the EBGMR SVSDs. Furthermore, it was obviously observed that the effects of CoFe diffusion barrier on controlling the Cu spacer inter-diffusion are more significant than that of Co. The effectively reduced Mn atomic inter-diffusion at the NiFe/FeMn interface and the well-maintained interfacial spin-dependent scattering resulted from the control of EM and TM-induced Cu spacer inter-diffusion were the main physical reasons for the significant improvement of magnetic and electrical degradation of top EBGMR SVSDs. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
KSP 제안 키워드
Activation Energy, Co diffusion, Cu spacer inter-diffusion, Current shunting, DC current, Diffusion barrier(DB), Diffusion process, Electrical stability, Exchange bias field, Giant magnetoresistance(GMR), NiFe thin films