Current-induced switching of exchange bias in nano-scaled magnetic tunnel junctions with a synthetic antiferromagnetic pinned layer

C. T. Chao, C. Y. Kuo, Lance Horng, M. Tsunoda, M. Takahashi, J. C. Wu

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Abstract

This report investigates the current-induced switching of exchange bias without an external magnetic field in nano-scaled magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) cells. An MTJ stack film was patterned into an ellipse with dimensions of 120 nm × 270 nm by using standard electron beam lithography in combination with ion beam etching. A spin-polarized current pulse with a duration of 100 ns was used to switch the exchange bias direction of the synthetic antiferromagnetic (SAF) pinned layer. It is worth noting that the MTJ cell was initialized in a high resistance state before applying the current pulse. For the application of both positive and negative current pulses, the resistance can be switched from the high (antiparallel) state to the low (parallel) one at 2.95 and -2.80 mA, respectively. After the current-induced switching, it was found that the magnetoresistance curve is reversed relative to the one before the current-induced switching. Predominantly, this behavior is independent of the polarity of the current pulse. As a result, it is shown that the exchange bias in the SAF pinned layer changes its direction with a sufficient supply of current pulse.

Original languageEnglish
Article number07B103
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Volume111
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Apr 1

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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