We investigated the film performance and nanostructure of current-perpendicular-to-plane giant magnetoresistance (CPP-GMR) spin-valve film with a current-confined-path nano-oxide layer (CCP-NOL). By applying ion-assisted oxidation (IAO) for the CCP-NOL formation, we enhanced the MR ratio to 5.4% at a small RA value of 500 mΩ νm2 for conventional Co90Fe10 layers. Furthermore, the use of bcc-Fe 50Co50 also increased the MR ratio to 8.2% at a small RA value of 580 mΩ νm2. A modified Valet-Fert model for the CCP-NOL showed that the MR enhancement by the IAO is due to the improvement in resistivity of the CCP, and that by Fe50Co50 is due to a larger spin-dependent interface scattering effect. Analysis by cross-sectional TEM and three-dimensional atom probe confirmed the formation of the CCP-NOL structure. A reliability test for test element devices showed almost no change even under acceleration stress. The CPP-GMR spin-valve film with the CCP-NOL is extendable to future high-density recording heads due to its potential for a higher MR ratio at a small value of RA.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)