Multiferroic Tunnel Junctions

Authored by: Manuel Bibes , Agnès Barthélémy

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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Electron tunneling through vacuum or an ultrathin insulating barrier (1 to about 5 nm) is a well-known phenomenon that dates back to the development of quantum mechanics [1] and is described in all quantum mechanics textbooks. It recently attracted a lot of attention not only from a fundamental point of view but also for its device perspectives. This is exemplified by the work performed on superconducting [2] and magnetic tunnel junctions (see Chapters 10 through 12). These latter junctions are composed of a thin dielectric barrier sandwiched between two ferromagnetic electrodes. Upon changing the relative orientation of the magnetizations of the two electrodes, the conductance of the junctions changes, leading to a tunnel magnetoresistance (TMR) effect. This TMR is nowadays exploited for the realization of a new type of nonvolatile memory called magnetoresistive random access memory (MRAM) (see Chapter 35) in which the information is stored by the parallel or antiparallel orientation of the magnetizations of the electrodes.

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