Magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ), which arises from emerging spintronics, has the potential to become the basic component of novel memory, logic circuits, and other applications. Particularly since the first demonstration of current induced magnetization switching in MTJ, spin transfer torque magnetic random access memory (STT-MRAM) has sparked a huge interest thanks to its non-volatility, fast access speed, and infinite endurance. However, along with the advanced nodes scaling, MTJ with in-plane magnetic anisotropy suffers from modest thermal stability, high power consumption, and manufactural challenges. To address these concerns, focus of research has converted to the preferable perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA) based MTJ, whereas a number of conditions still have to be met before its practical application. This paper overviews the principles of PMA and STT, where relevant issues are preliminarily discussed. Centering on the interfacial PMA in CoFeB/MgO system, we present the fundamentals and latest progress in the engineering, material, and structural points of view. The last part illustrates potential investigations and applications with regard to MTJ with interfacial PMA.
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