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Title: Enhancement of voltage controlled magnetic anisotropy (VCMA) through electron depletion
Recent advancement in the switching of perpendicular magnetic tunnel junctions with an electric field has been a milestone for realizing ultra-low energy memory and computing devices. To integrate with current spin-transfer torque-magnetic tunnel junction and spin–orbit torque-magnetic tunnel junction devices, the typical linear fJ/V m range voltage controlled magnetic anisotropy (VCMA) needs to be significantly enhanced with approaches that include new materials or stack engineering. A possible bidirectional and 1.1 pJ/V m VCMA effect has been predicted by using heavily electron-depleted Fe/MgO interfaces. To improve upon existing VCMA technology, we have proposed inserting high work function materials underneath the magnetic layer. This will deplete electrons from the magnetic layer biasing the gating window into the electron-depleted regime, where the pJ/V m and bidirectional VCMA effect was predicted. We have demonstrated tunable control of the Ta/Pd(x)/Ta underlayer's work function. By varying the Pd thickness (x) from 0 to 10 nm, we have observed a tunable change in the Ta layer's work function from 4.32 to 4.90 eV. To investigate the extent of the electron depletion as a function of the Pd thickness in the underlayer, we have performed DFT calculations on supercells of Ta/Pd(x)/Ta/CoFe/MgO, which demonstrate that electron depletion will not be fully screened at the CoFe/MgO interface. Gated pillar devices with Hall cross geometries were fabricated and tested to extract the anisotropy change as a function of applied gate voltage for samples with various Pd thicknesses. The electron-depleted Pd samples show three to six times VCMA improvement compared to the electron accumulated Ta control sample.  more » « less
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Journal of Applied Physics
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Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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