First-principles Modeling of Magnetic Memory Components — Preliminary Results on the Effects of Interface Oxides

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Magnetotunnel junctions (MTJs), exhibiting high tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR), are currently being employed in new generations of hard disk drive (HDD) read heads and novel magnetic random access memory (MRAM) technology. We have modeled such spintronic components using the software package Atomistix ToolKit (ATK), which is based on density functional theory (DFT) and non-equilibrium Green’s functions (NEGFs). We have focused on calculating zero-bias conductance and TMR for crystalline Fe-MgO-Fe MTJs, and have studied the effects of different oxide layers in the Fe/MgO interface, and the effects of structural “disorder” in the device. We find that such “defects” in the atomic structure have strong effects on the conductance. We use the result of the calculations to rationalize recent experimental findings.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: 1, Technical Proceedings of the 2007 NSTI Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show, Volume 1
Published: May 20, 2007
Pages: 209 - 211
Industry sectors: Advanced Materials & Manufacturing | Sensors, MEMS, Electronics
Topicss: Nanoelectronics, Photonic Materials & Devices
ISBN: 1-4200-6182-8