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Magnetic anisotropies and exchange bias in ultrathin cobalt layers for the tunnel anisotropic magnetoresistance

Abstract : In the context of studying magnetic and spintronics phenomena occurring at the nanoscale, we investigated several aspects of Pt/Co/AlOx asymmetric structures. One of the objectives of this thesis was the control of the oxidation and the tailoring of the magnetic properties of these multilayers. We combined structural (X-Ray Reflectivity), transport (Anomalous Hall Effect) and magnetic measurements (VSM-SQUID), to study the interplay of magnetic and interfacial effects. One objective was to analyze the role that few monolayers (MLs) of CoO (which can form when overoxidizing the Al layer), could have on the properties of the stack. We used a wedge deposition techniques to control the oxidation on a subnanometer scale. We established that few MLs of CoO largely affect the total anisotropy of the stack. To further investigate the impact of the CoO, we engineered ultrathin Co(0.6nm)/CoO(0.6nm) bilayers. We performed field cooled measurements on this system and we found a large exchange bias anisotropy. These results indicate that the CoO keeps a large anisotropy even in the ML regime, help to rule out some of the models proposed to explain the exchange bias effect and imply that the usually neglected CoO presence must be considered in the energy balance of the system. We build perpendicular Tunneling Anisotropic MagnetoResistance (TAMR) devices based on the Pt/Co/AlOx structure. The TAMR is a relatively new spintronics effect in which the rotation of the magnetization in a single magnetic electrode (combined with the Spin-Orbit Coupling) can cause a change of the tunnel probability, which manifests as a magnetoresistance effect. We demonstrated that a careful control of the interface oxidation is crucial for the TAMR effect. The large induced magnetic anisotropy allowed us to achieve enhanced TAMR values compared to similar Pt/Co/AlOx structures.
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Filippo Jacopo Ferraro. Magnetic anisotropies and exchange bias in ultrathin cobalt layers for the tunnel anisotropic magnetoresistance. Physics [physics]. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015GREAY086⟩. ⟨tel-01686413⟩

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