Stability phase diagram of a perpendicular magnetic tunnel junction in noncollinear geometry

Abstract : Experimental measurements performed on MgO-based perpendicular magnetic tunnel junctions show a strong dependence of the stability voltage-field diagrams as a function of the direction of the magnetic field with respect to the plane of the sample. When the magnetic field is applied in-plane, systematic nonlinear phase boundaries are observed for various lateral sizes. The simulation results based on the phenomenological Landau-Lifshitz-Gilbert equation including the in-plane and out-of-plane spin transfer torques are consistent with the measurements if a second-order anisotropy contribution is considered. Furthermore, performing the stability analysis in linear approximation allowed us to analytically extract the critical switching voltage at zero temperature in the presence of an in-plane field. This study indicates that in the noncollinear geometry investigations are suitable to detect the presence of the second-order term in the anisotropy. Such higher order anisotropy term can yield an easy-cone anisotropy which reduces the thermal stability factor but allows for more reproducible spin transfer torque switching due to a reduced stochasticity of the switching. As a result, the energy per write event decreases much faster than the thermal stability factor as the second-order anisotropy becomes more negative. Easy-cone anisotropy can be useful for fast-switching spin transfer torque magnetic random access memories provided the thermal stability can be maintained above the required value for a given memory specification.
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N. Strelkov, A. Timopheev, R. C. Sousa, M. Chshiev, L. D. Buda-Prejbeanu, et al.. Stability phase diagram of a perpendicular magnetic tunnel junction in noncollinear geometry. Physical Review B : Condensed matter and materials physics, American Physical Society, 2017, 95, pp.184409. ⟨10.1103/PhysRevB.95.184409⟩. ⟨hal-01533810v2⟩

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