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Hard x-ray standing-wave photoemission insights into the structure of an epitaxial Fe/MgO multilayer magnetic tunnel junction
Univ Calif Davis, Dept Phys, Davis, CA 95616 USA;Lawrence Berkeley Natl Lab, Mat Sci Div, Berkeley, CA 94720 USA.
Univ Calif Davis, Dept Phys, Davis, CA 95616 USA;Lawrence Berkeley Natl Lab, Mat Sci Div, Berkeley, CA 94720 USA.
Lawrence Berkeley Natl Lab, Adv Light Source, Berkeley, CA 94720 USA.
Uppsala universitet, Teknisk-naturvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Fysiska sektionen, Institutionen för fysik och astronomi, Materialfysik.
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2019 (engelsk)Inngår i: Journal of Applied Physics, ISSN 0021-8979, E-ISSN 1089-7550, Vol. 126, nr 7, artikkel-id 075305Artikkel i tidsskrift (Fagfellevurdert) Published
Abstract [en]

The Fe/MgO magnetic tunnel junction is a classic spintronic system, with current importance technologically and interest for future innovation. The key magnetic properties are linked directly to the structure of hard-to-access buried interfaces, and the Fe and MgO components near the surface are unstable when exposed to air, making a deeper probing, nondestructive, in-situ measurement ideal for this system. We have thus applied hard x-ray photoemission spectroscopy (HXPS) and standing-wave (SW) HXPS in the few kilo-electron-volt energy range to probe the structure of an epitaxially grown MgO/Fe superlattice. The superlattice consists of 9 repeats of MgO grown on Fe by magnetron sputtering on an MgO(001) substrate, with a protective Al2O3 capping layer. We determine through SW-HXPS that 8 of the 9 repeats are similar and ordered, with a period of 33 +/- 4 angstrom, with the minor presence of FeO at the interfaces and a significantly distorted top bilayer with ca. 3 times the oxidation of the lower layers at the top MgO/Fe interface. There is evidence of asymmetrical oxidation on the top and bottom of the Fe layers. We find agreement with dark-field scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) and x-ray reflectivity measurements. Through the STEM measurements, we confirm an overall epitaxial stack with dislocations and warping at the interfaces of ca. 5 angstrom. We also note a distinct difference in the top bilayer, especially MgO, with possible Fe inclusions. We thus demonstrate that SW-HXPS can be used to probe deep buried interfaces of novel magnetic devices with few-angstrom precision.

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2019. Vol. 126, nr 7, artikkel-id 075305
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-394269DOI: 10.1063/1.5089556ISI: 000483849000004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-394269DiVA, id: diva2:1359382
Tilgjengelig fra: 2019-10-09 Laget: 2019-10-09 Sist oppdatert: 2019-10-09bibliografisk kontrollert

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