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Title: Thin Co/Ni-based bottom pinned spin-transfer torque magnetic random access memory stacks with high annealing tolerance

Spin-transfer torque magnetic random access memory (STT-MRAM) is considered as a replacement for next generation embedded and stand-alone memory applications. One of the main challenges in the STT-MRAM stack development is the compatibility of the stack with CMOS process flows in which thermal budgets up to 400 °C are applied. In this letter, we report on a perpendicularly magnetized MgO-based tunnel junction (p-MTJ) on a thin Co/Ni perpendicular synthetic antiferromagnetic layer with high annealing tolerance. Tunnel magneto resistance (TMR) loss after annealing occurs when the reference layer loses its perpendicular magnetic anisotropy due to reduction of the CoFeB/MgO interfacial anisotropy. A stable Co/Ni based p-MTJ stack with TMR values of 130% at resistance-area products of 9 Ω μm{sup 2} after 400 °C anneal is achieved via moment control of the Co/Ta/CoFeB reference layer. Thinning of the CoFeB polarizing layer down to 0.8 nm is the key enabler to achieve 400 °C compatibility with limited TMR loss. Thinning the Co below 0.6 nm leads to a loss of the antiferromagnetic interlayer exchange coupling strength through Ru. Insight into the thickness and moment engineering of the reference layer is displayed to obtain the best magnetic properties and high thermal stability for thin Co/Ni SAF-based STT-MRAM stacks.
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;  [1] ;  [3]
  1. IMEC Kapeldreef 75, B-3001 Leuven (Belgium)
  2. (University of Leuven), Celestijnenlaan 200F, B-3001 Leuven (Belgium)
  3. Department of Chemistry, KU Leuven (University of Leuven), Celestijnenlaan 200F, B-3001 Leuven (Belgium)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22489365
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Applied Physics Letters; Journal Volume: 108; Journal Issue: 4; Other Information: (c) 2016 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; ANNEALING; ANTIFERROMAGNETISM; COUPLING; MAGNESIUM OXIDES; MAGNETIC PROPERTIES; MAGNETORESISTANCE; RANDOMNESS; SPIN; TUNNEL EFFECT