This letter investigates the microstructure and mean inner potential (MIP) profile of Ta/CoFeB/MgO/CoFeB/Ta magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) by high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) and electron holography, respectively. The inconspicuous crystallization of MgO barrier is confirmed by HRTEM in the post-annealed sample at 250 °C. An obvious MIP difference is displayed in the Ta layers between the top and bottom of the MTJ, and elemental content difference of them is confirmed by energy dispersive spectroscopy. These results imply that the chemical diffusion can also give rise to a lower tunnel magnetoresistance ratio besides the inconspicuous crystallization of MgO barrier.
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