Electrical breakdown of the magnetic tunneling junction with an AlOx barrier formed by radical oxidation

K. Shimazawa, N. Kasahara, J. J. Sun, S. Araki, H. Morita, M. Matsuzaki

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, the dielectric breakdown in magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) was studied. The MTJ structure is Ta50/NiFe100/Co20/AlOx/Co30/RuRhMn100/Ta50 with the bottom lead of Ta50/ Cu500/Ta50 and the top lead of Cu2000/Ta50 (in Å), where the tunneling barrier was formed by 2-20 min radical oxygen oxidation of a 10 Å-thick Al layer. The junctions with area from 2 × 2 to 20 × 20 μm2 were patterned using the photolithography process, leading to tunneling magnetoresistance up to 17.2% and resistance-area product ranging from 350 Ω μm2 to 200 kΩ/um2. The junctions studied show dc breakdown voltage from 0.7 to 1.3 V, depending on the junction area and the oxidation time. Long oxidation time up to 14 min and a small junction area results in a large dc breakdown voltage. The electrostatic discharge (ESD) of MTJs was tested by using a human body model. The ESD breakdown voltage increases with decreasing junction resistance. These results are discussed in terms of the E-model based on the field-induced distortion of atomic bonds in the oxide barrier.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5194-5196
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number9 II
Publication statusPublished - 2000 May
Externally publishedYes
Event44th Annual Conference on Magnetism and Magnetic Materials - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: 1999 Nov 151999 Nov 18

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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