Determination of the Thickness of Al2O3 Barriers in Magnetic Tunnel Junctions
Applied Physics Letters
American Institute of Physics
The barrier thickness in magnetic spin-dependent tunnel junctions with Al2O3 barriers has been measured using grazing incidence x-ray reflectivity and by fitting the tunneling current to the Simmons model. We have studied the effect of glow discharge oxidation time on the barrier structure, revealing a substantial increase in Al2O3 thickness with oxidation. The greater thickness of barrier measured using grazing incidence x-ray reflectivity compared with that obtained by fitting current density–voltage to the Simmons electron tunneling model suggests that electron tunneling is localized to specific regions across the barrier, where the thickness is reduced by fluctuations due to nonconformal roughness.
Copyright © 2002 American Institute of Physics
Vol. 81 (4), pp. 751 - 753