We studied the magnetic and magnetoresistance characteristics of pseudospin-valve magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) based on CoFe/Pd multilayer electrodes with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy and an MgO barrier. The MTJs at annealing temperature (Ta of 473 K showed a tunnel- magnetoresistance (TMR) ratio of 1.5%. An fee (lll)-oriented texture of the bottom and top Co90Fe10/Pd multilayer electrodes, together with an imperfectly crystallized MgO, were revealed by cross-sectional TEM images. The TMR properties of perpendicular MTJs with aCo20Fe 60B20Co50fe50 or layer inserted between the CoFe/Pd multilayer electrodes and the MgO barrier were also studied. The TMR ratio with Co20Fe60B20 insertion was 1.7% at Ta = 473 K and monotonically decreased at Ta over 523 K. The TMR ratio with Co50Fe50 insertion increased up to 3% at Ta = 573 K and then decreased to 0.4% at Ta = 598 K. The influence of the Pd layer on CoFeB was studied by using the simplified structures of Pd/CoFeB/MgO/CoFeB/Pd and Ta/CoFeB/MgO/CoFeB/Ta with inplane anisotropy. A former structure with Pd resulted in reduced TMR ratio which decreases with increasing Ta whereas MTJs with a Ta-based structure showed a monotonic increase of a TMR ratio. The low TMR ratio observed in Pd-containing structures appears to result from crystallization of CoFeB in an unfavorable crystal orientation.
- CoFe/Pd multilayer electrodes
- MgO barrier
- Perpendicular magnetic anisotropy
- Tunnel magnetoresistance (TMR)