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Ultra-low switching energy and scaling in electric-field-controlled nanoscale magnetic tunnel junctions with high resistance-area product

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      Current-driven excitation of magnetic multilayers

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        Electric field-induced modification of magnetism in thin-film ferromagnets.

        A large electric field at the surface of a ferromagnetic metal is expected to appreciably change its electron density. In particular, the metal's intrinsic magnetic properties, which are commonly regarded as fixed material constants, will be affected. This requires, however, that the surface has a strong influence on the material's properties, as is the case with ultrathin films. We demonstrated that the magnetocrystalline anisotropy of ordered iron-platinum (FePt) and iron-palladium (FePd) intermetallic compounds can be reversibly modified by an applied electric field when immersed in an electrolyte. A voltage change of -0.6 volts on 2-nanometer-thick films altered the coercivity by -4.5 and +1% in FePt and FePd, respectively. The modification of the magnetic parameters was attributed to a change in the number of unpaired d electrons in response to the applied electric field. Our device structure is general and should be applicable for characterization of other thin-film magnetic systems.
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          Large voltage-induced magnetic anisotropy change in a few atomic layers of iron.

          In the field of spintronics, researchers have manipulated magnetization using spin-polarized currents. Another option is to use a voltage-induced symmetry change in a ferromagnetic material to cause changes in magnetization or in magnetic anisotropy. However, a significant improvement in efficiency is needed before this approach can be used in memory devices with ultralow power consumption. Here, we show that a relatively small electric field (less than 100 mV nm(-1)) can cause a large change (approximately 40%) in the magnetic anisotropy of a bcc Fe(001)/MgO(001) junction. The effect is tentatively attributed to the change in the relative occupation of 3d orbitals of Fe atoms adjacent to the MgO barrier. Simulations confirm that voltage-controlled magnetization switching in magnetic tunnel junctions is possible using the anisotropy change demonstrated here, which could be of use in the development of low-power logic devices and non-volatile memory cells.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            Applied Physics Letters
            Appl. Phys. Lett.
            AIP Publishing
            0003-6951
            1077-3118
            January 04 2016
            January 04 2016
            : 108
            : 1
            : 012403
            10.1063/1.4939446
            © 2016
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