Crystallographic orientation of the MgO barrier in sputter-deposited CoFeB/MgO/CoFeB magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) and its effect on tunnel magnetoresistance (TMR) were investigated. The degree of MgO(001) orientation was estimated with the integral intensity ratio (I(200)/I (220)) of diffraction lines from MgO (200) and MgO (220) planes obtained in grazing incident x-ray diffraction profiles. The main results are stated as follows. (1) I(200)/I(220) ∼ 4, meaning the (001) orientation of MgO, is realized when the underlaid CoFeB maintains amorphous structure, meanwhile MgO on bcc(110)-oriented CoFe shows (111) orientation (I(200)/I(220)) = 0). (2) The prevention of epitaxial growth on hep (00.1)-oriented Ru layer is effective to maintain amorphous structure of CoFeB. (3) The achievable TMR ratio after high temperature (280°C-450°C) annealing is mainly dominated by the MgO orientation and giant TMR ratio exceeding 200% is only obtained with I (200)/I(220) ≥ 3.4, while the resistance area product is independent of I(200)/I(220)-.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering