We investigated the effect of using a synthetic ferrimagnetic (SyF) free layer in MgO-based magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) on current-induced magnetization switching (CIMS), particularly for application to spin-transfer torque random access memory (SPRAM). The employed SyF free layer had a Co 40Fe40B20/Ru/Co40Fe 40B20 and Co20Fe60B 20/Ru/Co20Fe60B20 structures, and the MTJs (100 × (150-300) nm2) were annealed at 300°C. The use of SyF free layer resulted in low intrinsic critical current density (J c0) without degrading the thermal-stability factor (E/kBT, where E, kB, and T are the energy potential, the Boltzmann constant, and temperature, respectively). When the two CoFeB layers of a strongly antiferromagnetically coupled SyF free layer had the same thickness, J c0 was reduced to 2-4 × 106 A/cm2. This low Jc0 may be due to the decreased effective volume under the large spin accumulation at the CoFeB/Ru. The E/kBT was over 60, resulting in a retention time of over ten years and suppression of the write current dispersion for SPRAM. The use of the SyF free layer also resulted in a bistable (parallel/antiparallel) magnetization configuration at zero field, enabling the realization of CIMS without the need to apply external fields to compensate for the offset field.
- Current-induced magnetization switching
- MgO barrier
- Synthetic ferrimagnetic free layer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering