Observation using in situ scanning tunneling microscopy of the layers constituting a magnetic tunnel junction with a naturally oxidized aluminum barrier layer revealed an extremely flat aluminum-oxide surface. It was clarified from line-scan images that the aluminum-oxide barrier layer has atomic steps. This flatness, which is surprising given that the aluminum-oxide film is amorphous, reduced electron scattering within the barrier, leading to momentum-dependent tunneling, which should enable the fabrication of advanced devices, such as spin-polarized resonant tunneling transistors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)