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Published December 1995 | Published
Journal Article Open

Investigation of interface orientation and interface mixing in spin valve heterostructures


We have investigated magnetoresistance properties of (100) epitaxial, (111) textured and polycrystalline spin valve heterostructures on (100) Si substrates by UHV ion beam sputtering at room temperature. Magnetoresistance was measured as a function of Cu interlayer thickness (ti) with 10 Å <= ti <= 100 Å and the maximum was found at 20 Å in the case of (100) epitaxial spin valves. Highly (111) textured spin valves with heterostructure configurations similar to (100) spin valves were found to have a slightly lower magnetoresistance than (100) heterostructures, but a very similar functional dependence of magnetoresistance on ti. Interface mixing during the sputtering process by energetic neutral bombardment was found to significantly affect the magnetoresistance. Samples were made under various sputtering conditions (gas pressure, ion beam energy, target and substrate configuration) that could enhance or suppress high energy neutral bombardment of the growing film surface. Samples made under the conditions that suppressed neutral bombardment showed higher magnetoresistance and more abrupt interfaces as confirmed by small angle X-ray diffraction (SAXD) analysis of interface mixing by energetic neutral bombardment during sputter deposition.

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© 1995 IEEE. "Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the IEEE." Manuscript received February 17, 1995.

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