Radiation tolerance of a spin-dependent tunnelling magnetometer for space applications
2011 (English)In: Measurement science and technology, ISSN 0957-0233, E-ISSN 1361-6501, Vol. 22, no 4, 045204- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
To meet the increasing demand for miniaturized space instruments, efforts have been made to miniaturize traditional magnetometers, e. g. fluxgate and spin-exchange relaxation-free magnetometers. These have, for different reasons, turned out to be difficult. New technologies are needed, and promising in this respect are tunnelling magnetoresistive (TMR) magnetometers, which are based on thin film technology. However, all new space devices first have to be qualified, particularly in terms of radiation resistance. A study on TMR magnetometers' vulnerability to radiation is crucial, considering the fact that they employ a dielectric barrier, which can be susceptible to charge trapping from ionizing radiation. Here, a TMR-based magnetometer, called the spin-dependent tunnelling magnetometer (SDTM), is presented. A magnetometer chip consisting of three Wheatstone bridges, with an angular pitch of 120 degrees, was fabricated using microstructure technology. Each branch of the Wheatstone bridges consists of eight pairs of magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) connected in series. Two such chips are used to measure the three-dimensional magnetic field vector. To investigate the SDTM's resistance to radiation, one branch of a Wheatstone bridge was irradiated with gamma rays from a Co-60 source with a dose rate of 10.9 rad min(-1) to a total dose of 100 krad. The TMR of the branch was monitored in situ, and the easy axis TMR loop and low-frequency noise characteristics of a single MTJ were acquired before and after irradiation with the total dose. It was concluded that radiation did not influence the MTJs in any noticeable way in terms of the TMR ratio, coercivity, magnetostatic coupling or low-frequency noise.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 22, no 4, 045204- p.
radiation tolerant, magnetic tunnel junction, tunnelling magnetoresistance, magnetometer
Engineering and Technology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-150729DOI: 10.1088/0957-0233/22/4/045204ISI: 000288454500010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-150729DiVA: diva2:408534