Image Number 3 for United States Patent #4857418.
A magnetic, solid state memory cell or sensor includes a magnetoresistive, ferromagnetic layer and a resistive layer overlying the magnetoresistive layer. The resistivity and dimensions of the resistive layer are such that, preferably, only a small fraction of any sense current flowing through the cell or sensor will flow between input and output contacts by way of the resistive layer, yet the magnitude of the sense current will not be reduced below a desired signal level due to the presence of the resistive layer. The resistive layer is comprised of a material which will not diffuse into the magnetoresistive layer. A compound or mixture of a metal and either nitrogen or oxygen, such as tantalum and nitrogen, is preferred as the resistive layer. It is also preferred that the resistive layer be nonmagnetic.