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

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School of Electrical and Information Engineering, Beihang University, Beijing 100191, China
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Spintronics Interdisciplinary Center, Beihang University, Beijing 100191, China
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Institut d’Electronique Fondamentale, CNRS UMR 8622, University of Paris-Sud, 91405 Orsay, France
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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
Materials 2016, 9(1), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma9010041
Received: 7 November 2015 / Revised: 23 December 2015 / Accepted: 6 January 2016 / Published: 12 January 2016
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
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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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