Thermal stability of the interfaces between Co-, Ni-, and Fe-based ferromagnets in contact with selected nitrides MN (M=Al, B, Nb, Ta, Ti, and V)

Ying Yang, Y. Austin Chang, Jianhua Yang, Chengxiang Ji, Peter F. Ladwig, Feng Liu, Bharat B. Pant, Allan E. Schultz
2005 Journal of Applied Physics  
Nitride tunnel barriers have potential applications in magnetic tunnel junctions ͑MTJs͒. Thermal stability of the interfaces between Co-, Ni-, and Fe-based ferromagnets and these nitride tunnel barriers is critical to device performance. With guidance from low-temperature ternary isothermal phase diagrams of the Co-M -N, Ni-M -N, and Fe-M -N systems ͑M = Al, B, Nb, Ta, Ti, and V͒, the interfaces in Co/ MN, Ni/ MN, and Fe/ MN structures were evaluated in terms of two criterions: the phases in
more » ... s: the phases in contact must ͑1͒ be in equilibrium with each other ͑i.e., connected by a stable tie line͒ and ͑2͒ have negligible mutual solubility in the phase diagram at the temperatures of interest. Of the investigated interfaces, Co/ AlN, Co/ BN, Co/ NbN, Co/ TaN, Co/ TiN, Ni/ BN, Ni/ TaN, Fe/ BN, Fe/ NbN, Fe/ TaN, and Fe/ TiN were found to be thermodynamically stable. However, in light of some simplifications made in this analysis, the current evaluation of interfacial stability serves as a useful step in preselecting candidate nitride-based MTJ tunnel barrier materials for detailed study.
doi:10.1063/1.2040002 fatcat:xdtqgi6yyfhithij6n47uzcdlm