The giant tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR) in lattice-matched crystalline magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) strongly depends on the majority-spin Δ1 bands of ferromagnetic electrodes. Our synchrotron radiation X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and first-principles calculations show that B atoms suppress the formation of CoFe-O during CoFeB deposition in CoFeB/MgO/CoFeB MTJs, thereby lessening an effect that significantly degrades the majority-spin Δ1 bands, and that CoFe-B has properties superior to CoFe-O in electron conduction in the majority-spin Δ1 bands. During annealing, some of the B in CoFeB diffuses out, enhancing the valence bands of metallic CoFe, which improves the TMR value even further. Our present work elucidates the microscopic and electronic roles of B in MgO MTJs with CoFeB electrodes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Chemistry