Tunneling Magnetoresistance: Experiment (MgO Magnetic Tunnel Junctions)

Authored by: Shinji Yuasa

Handbook of Spin Transport and Magnetism

Print publication date:  August  2011
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9781439803776
eBook ISBN: 9781439803783
Adobe ISBN:


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A magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) consists of an ultrathin insulating layer (tunnel barrier) sandwiched between two ferromagnetic (FM) metal layers (electrodes), as shown in Figure 11.1a. The resistance of MTJ depends on the relative magnetic alignment (parallel or antiparallel) of the electrodes. The tunnel resistance, R, of MTJ is lower when the magnetizations are parallel than it is when the magnetizations are antiparallel, as shown in Figure 11.1b. That is, R P < R AP. This change in resistance with the relative orientation of the two magnetic layers, called the tunnel magnetoresistance (TMR) effect, is one of the most important phenomena in spintronics. The size of this effect is measured by the fractional change in resistance (R APR P)/R P × 100 (%), which is called the magnetoresistance (MR) ratio. The MR ratio at room temperature (RT) and a low magnetic field (typically <10 mT) represent a performance index for industrial applications.

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