Voltage dependence of magnetoresistance in magnetic tunnel junctions with AlN tunnel barrier

H. J. Shim, I. J. Hwang, K. S. Kim, B. K. Cho, Jin Tae Kim, J. H. Sok

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The voltage dependence of magnetoresistance (MR) and the low-frequency voltage fluctuation were studied in magnetic tunnel junctions with an AlN or an Al 2O 3 barrier formed by plasma nitridation or oxidation. The junctions consist of free and pinned NiFe layers by a FeMn antiferromagnetic layer. For the Al 2O 3 junction, the variation of half-reduction voltage of MR is about 50 mV from 401.3 mV in maximum to 351.4 mV in minimum depending upon the oxidation time. For the AlN junction, the less nitrided junction with a nitridation time of 120 s shows the higher-half-reduction voltage by about 100 mV than for optimally nitrided or oxidized ones. From the low-frequency voltage noise data, the less nitrided AlN junction shows larger 1/f noise magnitude compared with other junctions with an optimal condition, implying more defect states in the barrier due to unnitrided Al metals. In order to investigate the influence of nitrogen on ferromagnetic layer, another junction with an Al 2O 3 barrier was made after the pinned NiFe layer was exposed to N 2 plasma for 10 s. This junction reveals a lower MR and worse bias voltage dependence than any junctions studied here. The voltage dependence of MR, therefore, is likely influenced by the interface state rather than the defects in the barrier, although the two factors play an important role in determining MR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1095-1098
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Jul 2002


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