A revolutionary He+ ion beam process technology to enhance ultra-thin magnetic films for both MRAM and HDD applications

Spin-Ion Technologies is a spin-off company from the University of Paris-Sud and CNRS in Orsay, France. For more than 15 years the research team has been developing a back-end process solution to treat magnetic materials for the purpose of enhancing their performances, reducing manufacturing costs and for improving yield for both HDD and MRAM applications1-8.

Spin-Ion Technologies’ process technology is based on the application of a He+ ion beam to enhance the structure of magnetic thin films at the atomic scale. The utilization of light ions provides the precise control of inter-atomic displacement through the low energy transfer. All the He+ ions stop deep into the substrate. 

The key feature of the technology is the precise control of magnetic properties1-8 including - perpendicular magnetic anisotropy, domain wall dynamics, ferromagnetic order, DMI and damping through inter-atomic engineering via:

  • The control of interface inter-mixing in magnetic multilayers2-4 (Co/Pt, Co/Ni, Co/Pd, CoFeB-MgO…)

  • The enhancement of chemical order5 (FePt, FePd…) and crystallization6 (CoFeB-MgO...) at low temperatures

  • The fabrication of planar magnetic nanostructures by using ion irradiation through a mask7-8

The technology has been tested by leading laboratories and companies involved in spintronics including:

  • University of California San Diego
  • New York University
  • University of Lorraine
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Beihang
  • Spintec Grenoble
  • University of Gothenburg
  • Western Digital
  • Singulus Technologies

1Tailoring magnetism by light-ion irradiation, J Fassbender, D Ravelosona, Y Samson, Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics 37, (2004)

2Enhancing domain wall motion in magnetic wires by ion irradiation, F Cayssol et al, Applied Physics Letters 86, 022503 (2005)

3Influence of ion irradiation on switching field and switching field distribution in arrays of Co/Pd-based bit pattern media, T Hauet et al, Applied Physics Letters 98, 172506 (2011)

4Ferromagnetic resonance linewidth in ultrathin films with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy, JM Beaujour, D Ravelosona, I Tudosa, EE Fullerton, AD Kent, Physical Review B 80, 180415 (2009)

5Ordering intermetallic alloys by ion irradiation: A way to tailor magnetic media, H Bernas et al, Physical review letters 91, 077203 (2003)

6Irradiation-induced tailoring of the magnetism of CoFeB/MgO ultrathin films, T Devolder et al, Journal of Applied Physics 113, 203912 (2013)

7Planar patterned magnetic media obtained by ion irradiation, C Chappert, et al, Science 280, 1919 (1998)

8Sub-50 nm planar magnetic nanostructures fabricated by ion irradiation, T Devolder et al, Applied physics letters 74, 3383 (1999)