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Microscopic theory of the Coulomb based exchange coupling in magnetic tunnel junctions

We study interlayer exchange coupling based on the many-body Coulomb interaction between conduction electrons in magnetic tunnel junction. This mechanism complements the known interaction between magnetic layers based on virtual electron hopping (or spin currents). We find that these two mechanisms have different behavior on system parameters. The Coulomb based coupling may exceed the hopping based exchange. We show that the Coulomb based exchange interaction, in contrast to the hopping based coupling, depends strongly on the dielectric constant of the insulating layer. The dependence of the interlayer exchange interaction on the dielectric properties of the insulating layer in magnetic tunnel junction is similar to magneto-electric effect where electric and magnetic degrees of freedom are coupled. We calculate the interlayer coupling as a function of temperature and electric field for magnetic tunnel junction with ferroelectric layer and show that the exchange interaction between magnetic leads has a sharp decrease in the vicinity of the ferroelectric phase transition and varies strongly with external electric field.

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