AVS 55th International Symposium & Exhibition
    Magnetic Interfaces and Nanostructures Wednesday Sessions
       Session MI-WeA

Invited Paper MI-WeA9
Current Perpendicular to Plane Giant Magnetoresistance in Magnetic Multilayers*

Wednesday, October 22, 2008, 4:20 pm, Room 206

Session: New Directions in Spintronics
Presenter: W.P. Pratt, Jr., Michigan State University
Correspondent: Click to Email

Giant magnetoresistance (GMR) in magnetic multilayers, consisting of alternating ferromagnetic and non-magnetic (F/N) layers, is now a major field of study in metallic magnetic materials both for fundamental physics and important sensor applications, especially read heads in computer hard drives. Until recently, applications of GMR mostly used Current-In-Plane (CIP) geometry. However, the Current-Perpendicular-to-Plane (CPP) GMR can be larger, and the CPP geometry has certain fabrication advantages. Indeed, CPP tunneling-MR read heads are now in computers, and CPP-GMR in metallic multilayers is competing for next-generation read heads. There is also great theoretical and experimental interest in the inverse phenomenon to CPP-GMR, where a high-density (~107 A/cm2) spin-polarized CPP current exerts a large enough torque on a given nano-size F-layer to cause its magnetization to precess and then switch. Such current-induced magnetization switching (CIMS) has potential applications in magnetic random access memories. Progress in this field is tied to understanding the spin-polarized transport parameters of existing and new materials. The CPP-GMR usually gives more direct access to these fundamental parameters: F/N interface resistances, asymmetries of conduction electron scattering in the bulk of F-layers and at F/N interfaces, and the length scales for electron spin-memory loss due to spin-flip scattering. After a brief review of the CPP-GMR and CIMS phenomena, I will present examples of important CPP-transport parameters that we have quantified for a wide variety of F and N metals. I will then illustrate applications of this knowledge of the CPP parameters to CIMS in F/N/F trilayer structures.

*Work supported by US National Science Foundation, the MSU Keck Microfabrication Facility and Seagate Technology.