Nanoscale Thermal Phenomena in Tunnel Junctions for Spintronics Applications

[+] Author and Article Information
Yongho “Sungtaek” Ju

 Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1597just@seas.ucla.edu

J. Electron. Packag 128(2), 109-114 (Dec 05, 2005) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2165215 History: Received January 25, 2005; Revised December 05, 2005

The nascent field of spintronics has great potential to enable new types of information processing and storage devices and supplement conventional semiconductor electronics. An overview of nanoscale thermal phenomena in a tunnel junctions is provided, which is one of the key building blocks of spintronic devices. Experiments showed that the thermal resistance of nanoscale AlOx tunnel barriers increases linearly with thickness, which is consistent with the theory of energy transport in highly disordered materials. Heat conduction across a tunnel junction is impeded by significant additional resistance at interfaces between the barrier layer and electrodes due to mismatch in atomic vibrational properties and nonequilibrium between electrons and phonons. The quantum-mechanical tunneling probability depends strongly on electron energy, which leads to asymmetry in heat-generation rate along the two opposing electrodes of a tunnel junction.

Copyright © 2006 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Top view (a) and cross-sectional view (b) of a thermal-resistance measurement structure

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Figure 2

Thermal resistance of electrode/AlOx/electrode multilayers plotted as a function of AlOx layer thickness (10). The resistance consists of two components, bulk film resistance and interface resistance. Similar thermal interface resistance values were obtained for both types of electrodes considered.

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Figure 3

A model considered in the two-fluid heat conduction analysis to elucidate the impact of phonon-electron nonequilibrium on heat transfer across a barrier-electrode interface in the presence of internal heating

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Figure 4

Energy diagram of a model symmetric tunnel junction

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Figure 5

Dependence of the fraction of heat generated in the emitting electrode Qemit∕Qtotal on barrier height (d=15Å, Vbias=0.5V)

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Figure 6

A thermal-resistor network model for a tunnel junction, which consists of the thermal resistances for the bottom interconnect to the ambient (BI), the bottom electrode (BE), the barrier, the top electrode (TE), and the top interconnect to the ambient (TI). The interconnects are in cross-wire geometry.




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