We report on a systematic investigation of rapid thermal anneal (RTA) effects on the properties of FeMn exchange-biased magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs). The tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR) in an as-grown MTJ is found to be ∼27%, whereas the TMR in MTJs annealed by RTA increases with annealing temperature up to 300 °C, reaching ∼46%. A significant change in the effective barrier thickness (teff) and height (Φeff) occurs within 10 s during RTA. Transmission electron microscopy and X-ray reflectivity studies demonstrate that the interface of the alumina tunnel barrier for the MTJ annealed by RTA became sharper and clearer, giving rise to the enhanced TMR.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering