Joint perpendicular anisotropy and strong interlayer exchange coupling in systems with thin vanadium spacers

Devolder, T.; Le Goff, A.; Eimer, S.; Adam, J.-P.
April 2015
Journal of Applied Physics;2015, Vol. 117 Issue 16, p163911-1
Academic Journal
We study the influence of the insertion of a vanadium spacer layer between an FeCoB layer and a [Co/Ni] multilayer in an MgO substrate-based system mimicking the reference system of a perpendicular anisotropy magnetic tunnel junction. The anisotropy of the [Co/Ni] multilayer gradually improves with the vanadium thicknesses t, up to an optimized state for t=8Å, with little influence of the thermal annealing. The interlayer exchange coupling is ferromagnetic and very strong for t ≤ 6 Å. It can be adjusted by thermal treatment at t=8Å from no coupling in the as-grown state to more than 2mJ=m² after 250 °C annealing. For this spacer thickness, the magnetic properties are consistent with the occurrence of a bcc (001) to an fcc (111) crystalline structure transition at the vanadium spacer. The remaining interlayer exchange coupling at t=8Å is still substantially higher than the one formerly obtained with a Tantalum spacer, which holds promise for further optimization of the reference layers of tunnel junctions meant for magnetic random access memories.


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