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Thermally nucleated magnetic reversal in CoFeB/MgO nanodots

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JournalScientific Reports
DateAccepted/In press - 19 Nov 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 1 Dec 2017
Issue number1
Number of pages10
Early online date1/12/17
Original languageEnglish


Power consumption is the main limitation in the development of new high performance random access memory for portable electronic devices. Magnetic RAM (MRAM) with CoFeB/MgO based magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs) is a promising candidate for reducing the power consumption given its non-volatile nature while achieving high performance. The dynamic properties and switching mechanisms of MTJs are critical to understanding device operation and to enable scaling of devices below 30 nm in diameter. Here we show that the magnetic reversal mechanism is incoherent and that the switching is thermally nucleated at device operating temperatures. Moreover, we find an intrinsic thermal switching field distribution arising on the sub-nanosecond time-scale even in the absence of size and anisotropy distributions or material defects. These features represent the characteristic signature of the dynamic properties in MTJs and give an intrinsic limit to reversal reliability in small magnetic nanodevices.

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© The Author(s) 2017.

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