Enhanced voltage-controlled magnetic anisotropy in magnetic tunnel junctions with an MgO/PZT/MgO tunnel barrier

Diana Chien, Xiang Li, Kin Wong, Mark A. Zurbuchen, Shauna Robbennolt, Guoqiang Yu, Sarah Tolbert, Nicholas Kioussis, Pedram Khalili Amiri, Kang L. Wang, Jane P. Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Compared with current-controlled magnetization switching in a perpendicular magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ), electric field- or voltage-induced magnetization switching reduces the writing energy of the memory cell, which also results in increased memory density. In this work, an ultra-thin PZT film with high dielectric constant was integrated into the tunneling oxide layer to enhance the voltage-controlled magnetic anisotropy (VCMA) effect. The growth of MTJ stacks with an MgO/PZT/MgO tunnel barrier was performed using a combination of sputtering and atomic layer deposition techniques. The fabricated MTJs with the MgO/PZT/MgO barrier demonstrate a VCMA coefficient, which is ∼40% higher (19.8 ± 1.3 fJ/V m) than the control sample MTJs with an MgO barrier (14.3 ± 2.7 fJ/V m). The MTJs with the MgO/PZT/MgO barrier also possess a sizeable tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR) of more than 50% at room temperature, comparable to the control MTJs with an MgO barrier. The TMR and enhanced VCMA effect demonstrated simultaneously in this work make the MgO/PZT/MgO barrier-based MTJs potential candidates for future voltage-controlled, ultralow-power, and high-density magnetic random access memory devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112402
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Volume108
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar 14

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

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