First-principles investigation of the very large perpendicular magnetic anisotropy at Fe | MgO and Co | MgO interfaces

H. X. Yang, M. Chshiev, B. Dieny, J. H. Lee, Aurelien Manchon, K. H. Shin

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Abstract

The perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA) arising at the interface between ferromagnetic transition metals and metallic oxides was investigated via first-principles calculations. In this work very large values of PMA, up to 3 erg/cm2, at Fe|MgO interfaces are reported, in agreement with recent experiments. The origin of PMA is attributed to overlap between O-pz and transition metal dz2 orbitals hybridized with dxz(yz) orbitals with stronger spin-orbit coupling-induced splitting around the Fermi level for perpendicular magnetization orientation. Furthermore, it is shown that the PMA value weakens in the case of over- or underoxidation due to the fact that oxygen pz and transition metal dz2 orbital overlap is strongly affected by disorder, in agreement with experimental observations in magnetic tunnel junctions.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical Review B
Volume84
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011

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