Scalable spintronics devices with reduced Pt and Ru content

Spintronics aims at using the spin of the electrons to reveal new phenomena and use them in functional devices enabling to improve the performances of electronic circuits (particularly reducing their power consumption) and/or create new functionalities. Commercial applications have already emerged such as magnetoresistive read heads for hard disk drives and more recently new magnetic memories called MRAM. Spintronics is now accepted by microelectronic industry and its penetration in industry will exponentially grow in the coming years, especially for IoT applications. A key component in these devices is the magnetic tunnel junction, which contains a significant amount of strategic materials: Pt and Ru which are used to generate magnetic anisotropy or antiferromagnetic coupling in the functional magnetic layers.

The thesis will aim at reducing the Pt and Ru contents by using ferromagnetic metals like Ni and Co-based alloys and improved stack designs, and at investigating their magnetic properties and thermal stabilities depending on the foreseen applications (consumer electronics vs automotive). The economic and environmental impact of these substitutions or suppressions will be evaluated thanks to the development of tools allowing following the amount of materials that can be saved depending on the different applications.

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published on April 23, 2018