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HCI Reduced Barriers in Magnetic Tunnel Junctions



Joshua M. Pomeroy, Holger Grube


In this paper, the use of tunnel junctions as sensors for determining the interaction strength between highly charged ions (HCIs) and ultra-thin insulating films is experimentally explored. HCIs are known to strongly ablate insulating materials upon collision by destabilizing the solid's chemical structure in the region of impact (referred to as potential energy sputtering). In our previous work, increased conductance of tunnel junctions due to highly charged ion irradiation was shown while demonstrating that tunnelling remains the dominant transport mechanism\cite{Pomeroy-APL07}. These studies indicate that the conductance increases linearly with the HCI dose, and so for any given tunnel barrier recipe and HCI charge state, the conductance per HCI $\sub{\sigma}{c}$ can be found. Since the conductance of a tunnel junction is exponentially sensitive to its thickness, the increase in conductance can be used to evaluate an effective tunnel junction reduction, which, in turn, can be explored as a metric for the ``potential energy sputtering'' the tunnel barrier. A method for relating the increased conductance to a mass loss is considered and compared against direct mass loss measurements by Hayderer(NIMB 182 (2001) p. 143).
Proceedings Title
Nuclear Instruments and Methods B
Conference Dates
September 21-26, 2008
Conference Location
Porquelles, FR
Conference Title
17th International Workshop on Inelastic Ion-Surface Collisions


highly charged ions, magnetic tunnel junction, potential energy sputtering


Pomeroy, J. and Grube, H. (2008), HCI Reduced Barriers in Magnetic Tunnel Junctions, Nuclear Instruments and Methods B, Porquelles, FR (Accessed June 12, 2024)


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Created December 7, 2008, Updated February 17, 2017