Magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) were fabricated with a thin layer of semimetallic bismuth inserted between the tunnel barrier and the top ferromagnetic electrode. The tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR) was measured on a set of samples for which the thickness of the inserted layer varied from 0 to 20 nm. The TMR decreased with an exponential decay length that was found to be Bi =4.1 nm=0.48 λF,Bi, where λF,Bi is the Fermi wavelength measured in comparable Bi films. This result is in remarkably good agreement with the decay length previously measured in MTJs with inserted copper layers, λCu =0.58 λF,Cu, even though the values of λF differ by an order of magnitude. It thereby gives a confirmation that the characteristic length scale of the tunneling density of states is the Fermi wavelength. Measurements of TMR as a function of bias voltage show a large asymmetry and the peak TMR is shifted to a nonzero value.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by Priority Research Centers Program (Grant No. 2009-0093823) and Basic Science Research Program (Grant No. KRF-2007-314-C00107) through the National Research Foundation of Korea and by a grant from “Center for Nanostructured Materials Technology” under “21st Century Frontier R&D Programs” of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. K.S. acknowledges the support by the KIST institutional program, by the KRCF DRC program, and by the IT R&D program of MKE/KEIT (Grant No. 2009-F-004-01). M.J. gratefully acknowledges the support of the Office of Naval Research, partial support provided by Grant No. N0001409WX30420.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)