Scanning tunneling microscopy observations of a single-crystal Fe (001) MgO (001) Fe (001) magnetic tunnel junction which shows a large tunnel magnetoresistance effect were performed. Step-and-terrace structures of an epitaxial MgO barrier layer, which are very similar to surfaces of a bottom Fe underlayer, were observed. This indicates that the MgO terraces were grown flatly on each terrace of the Fe electrode. It is supposed that these atomically flat terraces enable a coherent tunneling of electrons through magnetic tunnel junctions.
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