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We succeed to integrate BaO as a tunneling barrier into CoFeAl based magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJs). By means of Auger electron spectroscopy it could be proven that the applied annealing temperatures during BaO deposition and afterwards do not cause any diffusion of Ba neither into the lower Heusler compound lead nor into the upper Fe counter electrode. Nevertheless, a negative tunnel magnetoresistance (TMR) ratio of -10% is found for CoFeAl (24 nm) / BaO (5 nm) / Fe (7 nm) MTJs, which can be attributed to the preparation procedure and can be explained by the formation of Co- and Fe-oxides at the interfaces between the Heusler and the crystalline BaO barrier by comparing with theory. Although an amorphous structure of the BaO barrier seems to be confirmed by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM), it cannot entirely be ruled out that this is an artifact of TEM sample preparation due to the sensitivity of BaO to moisture. By replacing the BaO tunneling barrier with an MgO/BaO double layer barrier, the electric stability could effectively be increased by a factor of five. The resulting TMR effect is found to be about +20% at room temperature, although a fully antiparallel state has not been realized.


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