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Zirconium Seed Layer for PtMn Spin Valves Disclosure Number: IPCOM000013747D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-18

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As the areal density of the read heads increase, reduction of the overall spin valve thickness becomes critical. One of the key reasons for this is to be able to fit the spin valve sensors into ever decreasing read gaps with acceptable shield shorts. The antiferromagnetic (AF) materials are by far the thickest layers in current spin valve structures. Therefore decreasing the thickness of the AF materials will greatly help to reduce the overall spin valve thickness. A new seedlayer structure has been identified which reduces the PtMn thickness in spin valves down to 125 A which is 20% lower than the value obtained with Ta seedlayer. The new seedlayer is a thin layer of zirconium (Zr). This seedlayer can be used by itself or in combination with other metal or oxide seedlayers. The properties of the spin valve structure with 20 A Zr seedlayer is similar to Ta seeded spin valves except with 20% lower PtMn thickness. The typical R, dR/R, and Hc of the Zr seeded bottom anti-parallel pinned spin valve {bottom layers or seeds/Zr(20A)/PtMn (125A)/CoFe(17A)/Ru(8A)/CoFe(26A)/Cu(20A)/CoFe(15A)/NiFe(25A)/Cu(6A)/Ta(40A)} is 8.86%, 23.6 ohms/square, and 5.3 Oersteds respectively. 1