Effect of short annealing times on the magnetoelectronic properties of Co/Pd-based pseudo-spin-valves.
ABSTRACT We investigated the effects of short annealing times on the magnetoelectronic properties of pseudo-spin-valves (PSV) with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy based on Co/Pd multilayers using a contact hot plate. In order to study the time scale at which the degradation of film properties occurs for possible application in perpendicular MgO-based magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJ), the results were compared against our previous study of Co/Pd PSV based on vacuum annealing. With contact annealing for up to 90 s, no significant changes to the current-in-plane giant magnetoresistance (CIP-GMR), interlayer coupling, sheet resistance and layer coercivities were observed for up to 200 degrees C. At 350 degrees C, a 39 to 46% decrease in CIP-GMR was observed for annealing times of 30 to 90 s, respectively, slightly lower than that observed for vacuum annealing at 230 degrees C for 1 h. Similar results were also obtained for interlayer coupling, sheet resistance and layer coercivities, indicating that short annealing times allow for reduced interlayer diffusion at higher temperatures. However, it is clear that significant degradation of GMR performance occurs at 350 degrees C and above even for annealing times as short as 30 s, indicating the potential difficulty of realizing Co/Pd-based perpendicular MgO-MTJ.