Ferromagnetic/antiferromagnetic exchange bias nanostructures for ultimate spintronic devices

Abstract : Spintronics applications such as magnetic random access memories (MRAM), sensors (e.g.. hard diskdrive read head) and logic devices use ferromagnetic/antiferromagnetic (F/AF) exchange bias (EB) interactionsto set the reference direction required for the spin of conduction electrons. Thermally-assisted (TA-) MRAMapplications even use two F/AF exchange biased bilayers: one for reference and one for storage. Suchtechnological applications involve patterning full sheet wafers into matrix of individual bit-cells. Industrialproducts qualification imposes stringent requirements on the distributions of the magnetic properties from cell tocell, including those related to EB. It was supposed few years ago that randomly spread spin-glass like phases atthe F/AF interface or within the bulk of the AF layer significantly contribute to the distributions of EB propertiesin devices after processing. This thesis aimed at factually studying the link between spin-glasses spread overF/AF thin films and bit-cell dispersions of EB in corresponding TA-MRAM. Prior to that the origin of the spinglasslike regions and more specifically the role of Mn-diffusion was consolidated. Mn-diffusion was directlyobserved, understood and the use of complex barriers to reduce such diffusion and consequently to minimize theamount of spin-glass was successfully studied. Mixing AFs as another way to tune the amount of spin-glass likephases was also evidenced in the framework of this thesis. All at once, this last solution also tuned the AF grainsthermal stability and this solved another issue related to TA-MRAM, i.e. finding AF-materials with intermediateretention and write properties compared to the AFs presently used. Finally, those mixed antiferromagnets werethe mean chosen to tune the amount of spin-glass like phases in real TA-MRAM devices and to factually provetheir link with bit-cell distributions of EB properties.
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Kamil Akmaldinov. Ferromagnetic/antiferromagnetic exchange bias nanostructures for ultimate spintronic devices. Condensed Matter [cond-mat]. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015GREAY009⟩. ⟨tel-01161786⟩

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