Spin polarization and barrier oxidation effects at the Co/alumina interface in magnetic tunnel junctions
van der Laan, Gerrit
Applied Physics Letters
American Institute of Physics
The electronic structure and polarization in magnetic tunnel junctions prepared with varying degrees of barrier-layer oxidation have been studied using x-ray absorption spectroscopy across the Co L2,3 absorption edges. It was found that the Co electronic structure near the Co∕alumina interface tended to that of cobalt oxide as the barrier oxidation time was increased. However, the net Co 3d spin polarization, determined from x-ray magnetic circular dichroism, increased for moderate oxidation times compared to that obtained for an under-oxidized Co∕Al interface. It is proposed that the expected dilution of the measured polarization due to the formation of (room temperature) paramagnetic cobalt oxide, is offset by an increase in the Co 3d spin-polarization of the interface layer as the interface bonding changes from Co–Al to Co–O with increasing oxidation times.
Copyright © 2004 American Institute of Physics
Vol. 85 (17), pp. 3803 - 3805