Materials Research Science and Engineering Center
Date of this Version
The electronic structure and spin-dependent tunneling in epitaxial Fe/MgO/Fe(001) tunnel junctions are studied using first-principles calculations. For small MgO barrier thickness the minority-spin resonant bands at the two interfaces make a significant contribution to the tunneling conductance for the antiparallel magnetization, whereas these bands are, in practice, mismatched by disorder and/or small applied bias for the parallel magnetization. This explains the experimentally observed decrease in tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR) for thin MgO barriers. We predict that a monolayer of Ag epitaxially deposited at the interface between Fe and MgO suppresses tunneling through the interface band and may thus be used to enhance the TMR for thin barriers.
Published in Physical Review B, 72, 140404 (1 October 2005)
Copyright © 2005 The American Physical Society. Used by permission