In theories of electron tunneling between metallic layers, one fundamental question remains: which is the relevant density of states which determines the tunnel current through the barrier? In this letter, the influence of electron scattering at the metal/oxide interface in magnetic tunnel junctions on the tunnel current is addressed from a theoretical point of view. Two contributions to the tunnel current and to the magnetoresistance of these junctions are obtained: one from specular transmission through the barrier which is related to the one-dimensional density of states next to the metal/oxide interface, the other from tunneling assisted by interfacial scattering which depends both on the one-dimensional and three-dimensional density of states. The effect of spin-flip scattering on the impurities is discussed as well.
- SMI-NE: From 2006 in EWI-NE