This program seeks to identify the best practices synthesis and processing of magnetic thin films and magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) devices that can be deployed in emerging spin-based device prototypes. This is a formidable materials challenge, requiring judicious control of materials and interfaces to co-optimize magnetic anisotropy energy, interlayer exchange coupling, Gilbert damping and tunneling magnetoresistance. At the NIST Magnetic Engineering Research Facility, we produce films with highly controlled properties in an ultrahigh vacuum environment (base pressure < 2 x 10-10 Torr), including full-film MTJs, half-metallic Heusler alloys, magnetic multilayers, synthetic antiferromagnets, films with uniaxial magnetocrystalline anisotropy and magnetoelastic materials.
The principle objective is to advance testbeds for advanced spintronic platforms to enable information storage, and processing beyond Moore’s law. This effort will develop novel high-throughput approaches to prototype and test spin-based materials, including combinatorial deposition and high throughput measurements of the magnetic anisotropy, Gilbert damping and tunneling magnetoresistance.
Extensive facilities exist for epitaxial growth, transport, magneto-optical studies, structural/magnetic characterization (e.g., AFM/MFM, magnetometry), and e-beam and photolithographic sample fabrication.
Available measurement instrumentation includes a 110 GHz broadband ferromagnetic resonance spectrometer, a 2 T vector vibrating sample magnetometer, a 0.3 T full-film MTJ current-in-plane-tester and a magneto-optic Kerr effect-based microscope. Material characterization is performed with x-ray diffraction, electron microscopy, and atomic force microscopy. Materials and samples are fabricated with state-of-the-art deposition tools and a Class-100 cleanroom with both optical and e-beam lithography facilities.
Damping; Tunneling Magnetoresistance; MRAM; Perpendicular anisotropy; Magnetic materials; Spintronics; Nanomagnetism; Ferromagnetic resonance; Heusler Alloys;