Réduction du champ d'écriture de mémoires magnétiques à écriture assistée thermiquement à l'aide du couple de transfert de spin

Abstract : Spintronics offers new solutions in microelectronics regarding architecture, to solve scaling and consumption issues. Its main product, magnetic random access memories (MRAM), is composed of magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJ). Switching of the magnetic moment storing the data is facilitated by a thermally assisted writing method developed by Crocus Technology. The storage layer’s magnetization is coupled to an antiferromagnetic layer to stabilize it (pinned layer). Joule heating thanks to a tunneling current allows freeing the storage layer to write information thanks to a magnetic field. Generating a magnetic field still consumes power. To solve this issue, the idea explored in the thesis is to harness advantageously the spin transfer torque arising from the heating current in order to lower the writing field by changing the heating current polarity depending on the state to write. To do this, 1 kbit test vehicles have been tested, for which it is shown that spin transfer torque influence allows reducing the writing field. A new structure has been developed, consisting of a pinned synthetic ferrimagnetic (SyF) storage layer, to get benefits from the spin transfer torque without degrading epitaxial relations necessary to have a good stability and a good signal. To study the influence of spin transfer torque in details, field-voltage phase diagrams have been measured for various structures, by separating the elementary parts of the full structure. Apart from the expected spin transfer torque, an even effect of the current has been observed, favoring the antiparallel state whatever the current polarity. This effect can be found both in pinned layers and free layers, and can be explained thanks to perpendicular spin transfer torque as suggested by the shape of the diagrams obtained on free layers. Besides, writing diagrams of SyF storage layer have a complexe shape that may be related to the excitation of one only layer of the two of the SyF by spin transfer torque. By varying the resistance-area product (RA) of the MTJ, we showed that spin transfer torque seems to keep its proportionality to current density for structures with pinned storage layer. Another side of the work is related to the cooling phase at the end of the thermally assisted writing. Influence of the cooling rate on the efficiency of spin transfer torque was evidenced, and it is showed that a gradual decrease of the voltage let reach a quasistatic cooling regime in which the writing error rate is reduced by one order of magnitude on some structures. The different results are linked to the temperature dependence of RKKY coupling inside the SyF. This allows estimating real time change of temperature. Finally, thermoelectric effect due to heating asymmetry is studied.
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Antoine Chavent. Réduction du champ d'écriture de mémoires magnétiques à écriture assistée thermiquement à l'aide du couple de transfert de spin. Micro et nanotechnologies/Microélectronique. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016GREAT005⟩. ⟨tel-01279329⟩

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