Growth of GMR Spin Valves using Indium as a Surfactant
William F. Egelhoff Jr., P J. Chen, Cedric J. Powell, Mark D. Stiles, Robert McMichael
We have investigated the use of In as a surfactant to achieve smoother interfaces in spin-valve multilayers of the general type: FeMn/Ni80Fe20/Co/Cu/Co/Ni80Fe20/glass. The coupling field is reduced from 0.8 to 0.3 mT, presumably by suppressing roughness at the Co/Cu/Co interfaces, when 0.5-1.0 nm In is deposited on the first Co film just prior to Cu deposition or on the Cu film just prior to deposition of the second Co film. The In has a strong tendency to float-out to the surface during deposition of the spin valve leaving the spin-valve layers largely intact. The exchange bias at the FeMn/Ni80Fe20 interface can be increased from 12 to 25 mT by the use of thicker In(1.4 nm).