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Giant tunneling magnetoresistance in spin-filter van der Waals heterostructures

Magnetic multilayer devices that exploit magnetoresistance are the backbone of magnetic sensing and data storage technologies. Here, we report multiple-spin-filter magnetic tunnel junctions (sf-MTJs) based on van der Waals (vdW) heterostructures in which atomically thin chromium triiodide (CrI3) acts as a spin-filter tunnel barrier sandwiched between graphene contacts. We demonstrate tunneling magnetoresistance that is drastically enhanced with increasing CrI3 layer thickness, reaching a record 19,000% for magnetic multilayer structures using four-layer sf-MTJs at low temperatures. Using magnetic circular dichroism measurements, we attribute these effects to the intrinsic layer-by-layer antiferromagnetic ordering of the atomically thin CrI3. Our work reveals the possibility to push magnetic information storage to the atomically thin limit and highlights CrI3 as a superlative magnetic tunnel barrier for vdW heterostructure spintronic devices.

Authors:   Tiancheng Song; Xinghan Cai; Matisse Wei-Yuan Tu; Xiaoou Zhang; Bevin Huang; Nathan P. Wilson; Kyle L. Seyler; Lin Zhu; Takashi Taniguchi; Kenji Watanabe; Michael A. McGuire; David H. Cobden; Di Xiao; Wang Yao; Xiaodong Xu
Journal:   Science
Volume:   360
edition:   6394
Year:   2018
Pages:   1214
DOI:   10.1126/science.aar4851
Publication date:   15-Jun-2018
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