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Materials 2016, 9(1), 41; doi:10.3390/ma9010041

Failure Analysis in Magnetic Tunnel Junction Nanopillar with Interfacial Perpendicular Magnetic Anisotropy

1
School of Electrical and Information Engineering, Beihang University, Beijing 100191, China
2
Spintronics Interdisciplinary Center, Beihang University, Beijing 100191, China
3
Institut d’Electronique Fondamentale, CNRS UMR 8622, University of Paris-Sud, 91405 Orsay, France
4
Laboratoire Traitement et Communication de l’Information, Institut MINES-TELECOM, TELECOM ParisTech, Paris 75634, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Sofoklis Makridis
Received: 7 November 2015 / Revised: 23 December 2015 / Accepted: 6 January 2016 / Published: 12 January 2016
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Abstract

Magnetic tunnel junction nanopillar with interfacial perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA-MTJ) becomes a promising candidate to build up spin transfer torque magnetic random access memory (STT-MRAM) for the next generation of non-volatile memory as it features low spin transfer switching current, fast speed, high scalability, and easy integration into conventional complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) circuits. However, this device suffers from a number of failure issues, such as large process variation and tunneling barrier breakdown. The large process variation is an intrinsic issue for PMA-MTJ as it is based on the interfacial effects between ultra-thin films with few layers of atoms; the tunneling barrier breakdown is due to the requirement of an ultra-thin tunneling barrier (e.g., <1 nm) to reduce the resistance area for the spin transfer torque switching in the nanopillar. These failure issues limit the research and development of STT-MRAM to widely achieve commercial products. In this paper, we give a full analysis of failure mechanisms for PMA-MTJ and present some eventual solutions from device fabrication to system level integration to optimize the failure issues. View Full-Text
Keywords: magnetic tunnel junction; interfacial perpendicular magnetic anisotropy; process variation; stochastic behavior; barrier breakdown; STT-MRAM magnetic tunnel junction; interfacial perpendicular magnetic anisotropy; process variation; stochastic behavior; barrier breakdown; STT-MRAM
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhao, W.; Zhao, X.; Zhang, B.; Cao, K.; Wang, L.; Kang, W.; Shi, Q.; Wang, M.; Zhang, Y.; Wang, Y.; Peng, S.; Klein, J.-O.; de Barros Naviner, L.A.; Ravelosona, D. Failure Analysis in Magnetic Tunnel Junction Nanopillar with Interfacial Perpendicular Magnetic Anisotropy. Materials 2016, 9, 41.

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