Control of defect-mediated tunneling barrier heights in ultrathin MgO films

D. J. Kim, W. S. Choi, F. Schleicher, R. H. Shin, S. Boukari, V. Davesne, C. Kieber, J. Arabski, G. Schmerber, E. Beaurepaire, W. Jo, M. Bowen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The impact of oxygen vacancies on local tunneling properties across rf-sputtered MgO thin films was investigated by optical absorption spectroscopy and conducting atomic force microscopy. Adding O2 to the Ar plasma during MgO growth alters the oxygen defect populations, leading to improved local tunneling characteristics such as a lower density of current hotspots and a lower tunnel current amplitude. We discuss a defect-based potential landscape across ultrathin MgO barriers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number263502
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number26
StatePublished - 27 Dec 2010


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