Electron holography of barrier structures in Co/ZrAlOx/Co magnetic tunnel junctions

Zhe Zhang, Tao Zhu, Feng Shen, Wen Ting Sheng, Wei Gang Wang, John Q. Xiao, Ze Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate the potential profiles and elemental distribution of barriers in Co/ZrAlOx/Co magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) using electron holography (EH) and scanning transmission electron microscopy. The MTJ barriers are introduced by oxidizing a bilayer consisting with a uniform 0.45-nm Al layer and a wedge-shaped Zr layer (0-2 nm). From the scanning transmission electron microscopy, AlOx and ZrOx layers are mixed together, indicating that compact AlOx layer cannot be formed in such a bilayer structure of barriers. The EH results reveal that there are no sharp interfaces between the barrier and magnetic electrodes, which may be responsible for a smaller tunnelling magnetoresistance compared with the MTJs of Co/AlOx/Co.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1732-1735
Number of pages4
JournalChinese Physics Letters
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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