In this work, submicron-size (down to 0.273 μm2) spin-dependent tunnel junctions with resistance as low as ∼30 Ω μm2 have been fabricated, where the tunneling barrier of AlOx was formed by in situ natural oxidation. These junctions annealed at 250°C for 5 h showed tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR) of 14.3% and 25.8% for the pinned layers of CoFe/RuRhMn and CoFe/ PtMn, respectively, while the TMR is further increased to 31.6% for a synthetic antiferromagnetic pinned layer of CoFe/Ru/CoFe/PtMn due to less interdiffusion at CoFe/Ru interface. The investigation has indicated that the growth of ultrathin Al layer is very sensitive to the surface roughness of bottom ferromagnetic electrode, and large surface roughness leads to small junction resistance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)