We investigate the chemical state and electronic structure of boron in the MgO layer in CoFeB/MgO/CoFeB magnetic tunnel junctions by synchrotron radiation X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and first-principles calculations. In the top CoFeB, we observe three boron 1s peaks corresponding to oxidic, intermediate, and metallic boron. As the annealed films were etched, the B 2O 3 starts to appear together with the Mg 2p peak, indicating that boron atoms diffuse into the MgO barrier. Our calculations show that B impurities in the MgO barrier do not create any midgap states but reduce the MgO barrier height with the increase of boron concentration.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)