Insertion of a thin 3d ferromagnetic metal/alloy layer between the barrier layer and the perpendicularly magnetized ferromagnetic electrode is an effective method to enhance the magnetoresistance (MR) ratio in perpendicular magnetic tunnel junctions (p-MTJs). In the present paper we systematically studied the structural and magnetic properties as well as the spin-dependent transport in p-MTJs with a core structure MnGa/FM/MgO/CoFeB (FM = Fe, Co), with the MnGa being the L10 MnGa alloy (Mn57Ga43, Mn 62Ga38) and the D022 MnGa alloy (Mn 70Ga30). The insertion of the Fe and Co layers enhances the MR ratio significantly as well as the MnGa composition dependence of the MR ratio. In addition, opposite magnetic properties and MR(H) curves of MTJs with Fe and Co interlayers are observed, naturally suggesting the ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic exchange coupling for MnGa/Fe(bcc) and MnGa/Co(bcc), respectively. By considering the exchange coupling between the FM and MnGa, we successfully simulated the MR(H) curves of the samples with Fe and Co interlayers based on a simple model. Furthermore, the interlayer effect on the transport properties are discussed based on the temperature dependence of the MR ratio by using the magnon excitation model modified with impurity-induced hopping. It shows that the FM interlayer restrains the impurity induced hopping and the magnon excitation; and furthermore, the Co is more effective in restraining the impurity diffusion and magnon excitation as compared to Fe.
|Journal||Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics|
|Publication status||Published - 2013 May 23|