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The electronic structure of a half-metal. is the fermi level, is the density of states for spin down (on the left) and spin up (on the right). In this case, the half-metal is conducting in the minority spin channel.

A half-metal is any substance that acts as a conductor to electrons of one spin orientation, but as an insulator or semiconductor to those of the opposite orientation. Although all half-metals are ferromagnetic (or ferrimagnetic), most ferromagnets are not half-metals. Many of the known examples of half-metals are oxides, sulfides, or Heusler alloys.[1]

In half-metals, the valence band for one spin orientation is partially filled while there is a gap in the density of states for the other spin orientation. This results in conducting behavior for only electrons in the first spin orientation. In some half-metals, the majority spin channel is the conducting one while in others the minority channel is.[citation needed]

Half-metals were first described in 1983, as an explanation for the electrical properties of Mn-based Heusler alloys.[2]

Some notable half-metals are chromium(IV) oxide, magnetite, and lanthanum strontium manganite (LSMO),[1] as well as chromium arsenide. Half-metals have attracted some interest for their potential use in spintronics.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Coey, J.M.D.; Venkatesan, M. (2002). "Half-metallic ferromagnetism: Example of CrO2". Journal of Applied Physics. 91 (10): 8345–50. Bibcode:2002JAP....91.8345C. doi:10.1063/1.1447879. 
  2. ^ R. A. de Groot, F. M. Mueller, P. G. van Engen, and K. H. J. Buschow (1983). "New Class of Materials: Half-Metallic Ferromagnets". 50 (25). Phys. Rev. Lett.: 2024. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.50.2024. 

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