Physical Review B - CMMP

CoFe alloy as middle layer for strong spin dependent quantum well resonant tunneling in MgO double barrier magnetic tunnel junctions

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We report on spin dependent quantum well (QW) resonances in the CoFe alloy middle layer of CoFe/MgO/CoFe/MgO/CoFeB double barrier magnetic tunnel junctions. The dI/dV spectra reveal clear resonant peaks for the parallel magnetization configurations, which can be related to the existence of QW resonances obtained from first-principles calculations. We observe that the differential tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR) exhibits an oscillatory behavior as a function of voltage with a sign change as well as a pronounced TMR enhancement at resonant voltages at room temperature. The observation of strong QW resonances indicates that the CoFe film possesses a long majority spin mean-free path, and the substitutional disorder does not cause a significant increase of scattering. Both points are confirmed by first-principles electronic structure calculation. © 2013 American Physical Society.