First-principles study of tunneling magnetoresistance in Fe/MgAl 2O 4/Fe(001) magnetic tunnel junctions

Yoshio Miura, Shingo Muramoto, Kazutaka Abe, Masafumi Shirai

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42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We investigated the spin-dependent transport properties of Fe/MgAl 2O 4/Fe(001) magnetic tunneling junctions (MTJs) on the basis of first-principles calculations of the electronic structures and the ballistic conductance. The calculated tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR) ratio of a Fe/MgAl 2O 4/Fe(001) MTJ was about 160%, which was much smaller than that of a Fe/MgO/Fe(001) MTJ (1600%) for the same barrier thickness. However, there was an evanescent state with Δ 1 symmetry in the energy gap around the Fermi level of normal spinel MgAl 2O 4, indicating the possibility of a large TMR in Fe/MgAl 2O 4/Fe(001) MTJs. The small TMR ratio of the Fe/MgAl 2O 4/Fe(001) MTJ was due to new conductive channels in the minority spin states resulting from a band-folding effect in the two-dimensional Brillouin zone of the in-plane wave vector (k -) of the Fe electrode. Since the in-plane cell size of MgAl 2O 4 is twice that of the primitive in-plane cell size of bcc Fe, the bands in the boundary edges are folded, and minority-spin states coupled with the Δ 1 evanescent state in the MgAl 2O 4 barrier appear at k -=0, which reduces the TMR ratio of the MTJs significantly.

Original languageEnglish
Article number024426
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Volume86
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jul 20

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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