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Exchange bias and diffusion processes in laser annealed CoFeB/IrMn thin films

: Sharma, A.; Hoffmann, M.A.; Matthes, P.; Busse, S.; Selyshchev, O.; Mack, P.; Exner, H.; Horn, A.; Schulz, S.E.; Zahn, D.R.T.; Salvan, G.


Journal of magnetism and magnetic materials 489 (2019), Art. 165390
ISSN: 0304-8853
Fraunhofer ENAS ()

The performance of exchanged biased tunnel junctions strongly relies on the annealing process finalizing the fabrication process, which is applied to set a pinned reference magnetization, as well as to enhance the magnetoresistance ratio through the crystallization of the CoFeB layers. With the increasing demand in terms of integration and scalability of tunnel magnetoresistive elements, a laser-induced annealing process presents several advantages against traditional oven annealing technique. It provides the possibility to locally set an individual reference magnetization at the micrometer scale to enable e.g. a Wheatstone bridge or multidimensional sensor fabrication on a wafer level. This study presents the influence of laser-induced localized annealing on the magnetic properties of an exchanged biased CoFeB/IrMn system. The diffusion processes occurring at the interface of CoFeB/IrMn are analyzed in detail utilizing X-ray photoemission spectroscopy depth profiling technique and the results are compared to those obtained by standard vacuum oven annealing and correlated to the magnetic properties investigated by magneto-optical Kerr effect magnetometry.