A study of the effect of iron island morphology and interface oxidation on the magnetic hysteresis of Fe-MgO (001) thin film composites

Steven R. Spurgeon, Jennifer D. Sloppy, Runzhe Tao, Robert F. Klie, Samuel E. Lofland, Jon K. Baldwin, Amit Misra, Mitra L. Taheri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Fe-MgO tunnel junctions have received much attention for their use in hard drive read heads and other spintronic applications. The system is particularly interesting because of its magnetoresistive behavior and the abundance and low cost of its constituent elements. However, many questions remain about how the structure and chemistry of the Fe-MgO interface mediates magnetic behavior. In this study, we report on transmission electron microscopy, electron energy loss spectroscopy, and magnetic characterization of Fe-MgO composite films with various morphologies. We explore relationships between film morphology, intermixing, and the resulting effects on magnetic structure. We find the presence of oxidation at the Fe-MgO interface, with a detrimental impact on the saturation magnetization of the composite. We also observe changes in coercivity and magnetocrystalline anisotropy with film morphology and thickness. These results will inform the design of MgO-based tunnel junctions and improve our understanding of how processing conditions, resulting in morphological and chemical changes such as oxidation, affect magnetization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number013905
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Volume112
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012

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hysteresis
iron
tunnel junctions
oxidation
composite materials
thin films
magnetization
coercivity
energy dissipation
electron energy
chemistry
costs
saturation
transmission electron microscopy
anisotropy
spectroscopy

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Spurgeon, Steven R. ; Sloppy, Jennifer D. ; Tao, Runzhe ; Klie, Robert F. ; Lofland, Samuel E. ; Baldwin, Jon K. ; Misra, Amit ; Taheri, Mitra L. / A study of the effect of iron island morphology and interface oxidation on the magnetic hysteresis of Fe-MgO (001) thin film composites. In: Journal of Applied Physics. 2012 ; Vol. 112, No. 1.
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A study of the effect of iron island morphology and interface oxidation on the magnetic hysteresis of Fe-MgO (001) thin film composites. / Spurgeon, Steven R.; Sloppy, Jennifer D.; Tao, Runzhe; Klie, Robert F.; Lofland, Samuel E.; Baldwin, Jon K.; Misra, Amit; Taheri, Mitra L.

In: Journal of Applied Physics, Vol. 112, No. 1, 013905, 01.07.2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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