Nitridation process of Al layer by microwave-excited plasma and large magnetoresistance in Co-Fe/Al-N/Co-Fe tunnel junctions -As a comparison with oxidization process

Satoru Yoshimura, Toshihiro Shoyama, Toshiharu Nozawa, Masakiyo Tsunoda, Migaku Takahashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Nitridation and oxidization processes of metal Al film to form very thin insulating layer in magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) are investigated, using microwave-excited plasma. The plasma nitridation process provides wider controllability than the plasma oxidization for the formation of ultrathin insulating layer in MTJs, because of the slow nitriding rate of metal Al films, comparing with the oxidizing rate of them. As a result, high tunnel magnetoresistance (TMR) ratios of 49% and 44% with respective resistance-area product (R × A) of 3 × 104 Ωμm2 and 6 × 103 Ωμm2 are obtained in the Co-Fe/Al-N/Co-Fe MTJs. These values are comparable to those of MTJs with Al-O barriers. The remarkable feature of the nitridation process is its larger amount of plasma exposure, needed to obtain similar resistance in MTJs, comparing with the oxidization process. It means wider controllability of the plasma nitridation for the formation process of very thin tunnel barriers. We conclude that Al-N is a hopeful barrier material to realize MTJs with high TMR ratio and low R × A for high-performance MRAM cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2290-2292
Number of pages3
JournalIEEE Transactions on Magnetics
Volume40
Issue number4 II
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Jul 1

Keywords

  • Al-N barrier
  • Low-reactivity
  • Magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ)
  • Microwave-excited plasma
  • Nitridation and oxidization processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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