Perpendicular magnetic tunnel junctions (p-MTJs) with a MgO barrier and a 1-nm-thick MnGa electrode were investigated by inserting several monolayers (MLs) of Mn. The tunnel magnetoresistance (TMR) ratio systematically increased when increasing the Mn layer thickness with a maximum of 18 (38.4)% at 300 (5) K for a Mn layer thickness of 0.6-0.8 nm. This ratio is five times higher compared to that without the Mn layer. The perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA) field and the PMA constant of the ultrathin MnGa layer also increased up to 62-90 kOe and 6.2-11.3 Merg/cm3, respectively, with an increase in the Mn interlayer thickness, even for the ultrathin regime of the MnGa layer. For p-MTJs showing a high TMR and PMA, electron microscopy indicated the presence of 3-4 MLs of Mn at the MnGa/MgO interface; thus, the Mn modification enhanced the TMR as well as improved the PMA. This may be a promising finding to develop a Mn-based free layer for spin-transfer-torque devices for high-recording-density magnetoresistive random access memory and a sub-THz oscillator/detector.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)