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HRTEM and EELS Studies of Py/Al and Co/Al Multilayers

  • Jiaming Zhang (a1), Martin A. Crimp (a1), N. Theodoropoulou (a2), A. Sharma (a2), R. Loloee (a2), W. P. Pratt (a2) and J. Bass (a2)...


Ferromagnetic/non-magnetic (F/N) metallic multilayers in the Current-Perpendicular-to-Plane (CPP) geometry show giant Magnetoresistance (MR) and are promising candidates for potential use in high density storage devices. F/Al interfaces were recently shown to have large interface specific resistances that enhance the CPP-resistance. However, the CPP resistances showed instability over time at room temperature and also upon annealing to 453K. To help understand both the large interface specific resistances and their instabilities, we have undertaken cross-sectional High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy (HRTEM) and Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (EELS) studies of both as-sputtered and annealed Py/Al and Co/Al multilayers. We find well-layered, but rough structures with local F/Al interfaces being tilted up to ˜15°from the plane perpendicular to the growth direction. HRTEM images appear to show diffuse interfaces, but a through-focus series of images suggests considerable grain overlap in the electron beam direction, thereby complicating interpretation. This combination of HRTEM imaging and EELS analysis suggests that any interfacial mixing is limited in scale, and shows no evidence of intermetallic compound formation. No obvious differences are seen between assputtered and annealed samples.



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