Influence of spin-orbit interaction within the insulating barrier on the electron transport in magnetic tunnel junctions

Abstract : We present a theory of the anisotropy of tunneling magnetoresistance (ATMR) phenomenon in magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) attributed to Rashba spin-orbit interaction in the insulating barrier. ATMR represents the difference of tunnel magnetoresistance (TMR) amplitude measured with in-plane and out-of-plane magnetic configurations. It is demonstrated that within the spin-polarized free-electron model the change of conductance associated with the ATMR is exactly twice the change of conductance measured at full saturation (i.e., in parallel configuration of magnetizations) between in-plane and out-of-plane configuration, i.e., the tunneling anisotropic magnetoresistance (TAMR). Both ATMR and TAMR are closely related to the TMR amplitude and spin-orbit constant. The predicted ATMR phenomenon is confirmed experimentally, showing a few percent value in the case of the widely studied CoFeB/MgO/CoFeB based MTJ.
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A. Vedyayev, N. Ryzhanova, N. Strelkov, M. Titova, M. Chshiev, et al.. Influence of spin-orbit interaction within the insulating barrier on the electron transport in magnetic tunnel junctions. Physical Review B : Condensed matter and materials physics, American Physical Society, 2017, 95, pp.064420. ⟨10.1103/PhysRevB.95.064420⟩. ⟨cea-01517270⟩

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