Magnetic semiconductor

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Question dropshade.png Unsolved problem in physics:
Can we build materials that show properties of both ferromagnets and semiconductors at room temperature?
(more unsolved problems in physics)

Magnetic semiconductors are semiconductor materials that exhibit both ferromagnetism (or a similar response) and useful semiconductor properties. If implemented in devices, these materials could provide a new type of control of conduction. Whereas traditional electronics are based on control of charge carriers (n- or p-type), practical magnetic semiconductors would also allow control of quantum spin state (up or down). This would theoretically provide near-total spin polarization (as opposed to iron and other metals, which provide only ~50% polarization), which is an important property for spintronics applications, e.g. spin transistors.

While many traditional magnetic materials, such as magnetite, are also semiconductors (magnetite is a semimetal semiconductor with bandgap 0.14 eV), materials scientists generally predict that magnetic semiconductors will only find widespread use if they are similar to well-developed semiconductor materials. To that end, dilute magnetic semiconductors (DMS) have recently been a major focus of magnetic semiconductor research. These are based on traditional semiconductors, but are doped with transition metals instead of, or in addition to, electronically active elements. They are of interest because of their unique spintronics properties with possible technological applications.[1][2] Doped Wide band-gap metal oxides such as zinc oxide (ZnO) and titanium oxide (TiO2) are among the best candidates for industrial DMS due to their multifunctionality in opticomagnetic applications. In particular, ZnO-based DMS with properties such as transparency in visual region and piezoelectricity have generated huge interest among the scientific community as a strong candidate for the fabrication of spin transistors and spin-polarized Light-emitting diodes ,[3] while copper doped TiO2 in the Anatase phase of this material has further been predicted to exhibit favorable dilute magnetism [4]

Hideo Ohno and his group at the Tohoku University were the first to measure ferromagnetism in transition metal doped compound semiconductors such as indium arsenide and gallium arsenide doped with manganese referred to as GaMnAs. These materials exhibited reasonably high Curie temperatures (yet below room temperature) that scales with the concentration of p-type charge carriers. Ever since, ferromagnetic signals have been measured from various semiconductor hosts doped with different transition atoms.


Initially Dietl et al.. predicted theoretically that room-temperature ferromagnetism should exist in heavily p-type doped ZnO using modified Zener model for magnetism.[5] Since magnetic Co is highly soluble in ZnO, ZnO:Co system soon became one of the most studied DMSs for applications requiring ferromagnetism near room temperature.[6] Some subsequent theoretical using Density functional theory (DFT),[7][8] and experimental,[9][10] works show that n-type Co-doped ZnO also possesses room temperature ferromagnetism. ZnO doped with other transition metals (V, Mn, Fe and Cu) also have been studied.


The manufacturability of the materials depend on the thermal equilibrium solubility of the dopant in the base material. E.g., solubility of many dopants in zinc oxide is high enough to prepare the materials in bulk, while some other materials have so low solubility of dopants that to prepare them with high enough dopant concentration thermal nonequilibrium preparation mechanisms have to be employed, e.g. growth of thin films.

A flurry of research in the past few years has shed some light on the crucial factors that are needed to achieve high-Curie temperature (above room temperature) ferromagnetic semiconductors, which can explain the so-called controversy in the field and lack of reproducibility in the magnetic properties for the same materials. Indeed, the first great discovery in the field was in 1986 by T. Story and co-workers where they demonstrated that the ferromagnetic Curie temperature of Mn2+-doped Pb1−xSnxTe can be controlled by the carrier concentration.[11] The theory proposed by Dietl required charge carriers in the case of holes to mediate the magnetic coupling of manganese dopants in the prototypical magnetic semiconductor, Mn2+-doped GaAs. If there is an insufficient hole concentration in the magnetic semiconductor, then the Curie temperature would be very low or would exhibit only paramagnetism. However, if the hole concentration is high (>~1020 cm−3), then the Curie temperature would be higher, between 100-200 K.[12]

Recent research by the University of Washington group led by Daniel Gamelin has shed some light for instance on the importance of interstitial zinc (a shallow donor) for controlling the ferromagnetism in a high-Curie temperature, Co2+-doped ZnO.[13][14]

Several examples of ferromagnetic semiconductor materials are e.g.:

External links[edit]

  1. ^ Furdyna, J.K. (1988). "Diluted magnetic semiconductors". J. Appl. Phys. 64: R29. Bibcode:1988JAP....64...29F. doi:10.1063/1.341700. 
  2. ^ Ohno, H. (1998). "Making Nonmagnetic Semiconductors Ferromagnetic". Science. 281: 951. PMID 9703503. doi:10.1126/science.281.5379.951. 
  3. ^ Ogale, S.B (2010). "Dilute doping, defects, and ferromagnetism in metal oxide systems.". Advanced Materials. 22 (29): 3125–3155. PMID 20535732. doi:10.1002/adma.200903891. 
  4. ^ a b Assadi, M.H.N; Hanaor, D.A.H (2013). "Theoretical study on copper's energetics and magnetism in TiO2 polymorphs" (PDF). Journal of Applied Physics. 113 (23): 233913. doi:10.1063/1.4811539. 
  5. ^ Dietl, T.; Ohno, H.; Matsukura, F.; Cibert, J.; Ferrand, D. (February 2000). "Zener model description of ferromagnetism in zinc-blende magnetic semiconductors". Science. 287: 1019. PMID 10669409. doi:10.1126/science.287.5455.1019. 
  6. ^ Pearton, S.J.; Abernathy, C.R.; Overberg, M.E.; Thaler, G.T.; Norton, D.P.; Theodoropoulou, N.; Hebard, A.F.; Park, Y.D.; Ren, F.; Kim, J.; Boatner, L.A. (2003). "Wide band gap ferromagnetic semiconductors and oxides". J. Appl. Phys. 93 (1): 1–13. doi:10.1063/1.1517164. 
  7. ^ Sato, K.; Katayama-Yoshida, H. (2000). "Material Design for Transparent Ferromagnets with ZnO-Based Magnetic Semiconductors". Jap. J. Appl. Phys. 39: L555. doi:10.1143/jjap.39.l555. 
  8. ^ Sato, K.; Katayama-Yoshida, H. (2001). "Stabilization of Ferromagnetic States by Electron Doping in Fe-, Co- or Ni-Doped ZnO". Jap. J. Appl. Phys. 40: L334. doi:10.1143/jjap.40.l334. 
  9. ^ Ueda, K.; Tabata, H.; Kawai, T. (2001). "Magnetic and electric properties of transition-metal-doped ZnO films". Appl. Phys. Lett. 79: 988. doi:10.1063/1.1384478. 
  10. ^ Prellier, W.; Fouchet, A.; Mercey, B.; Ch; Raveau, B. (2003). "Laser ablation of Co:ZnO films deposited from Zn and Co metal targets on (0001) Al2O3 substrates". Appl. Phys. Lett. 82: 3490. doi:10.1063/1.1578183. 
  11. ^ Story, T.; Gała̧zka, R.; Frankel, R.; Wolff, P. (1986). "Carrier-concentration–induced ferromagnetism in PbSnMnTe". Physical Review Letters. 56 (7): 777. Bibcode:1986PhRvL..56..777S. PMID 10033282. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.56.777. 
  12. ^ Dietl, T.; Ohno, H; Matsukura, F; Cibert, J; Ferrand, D (2000). "Zener Model Description of Ferromagnetism in Zinc-Blende Magnetic Semiconductors". Science. 287 (5455): 1019–1022. Bibcode:2000Sci...287.1019D. PMID 10669409. doi:10.1126/science.287.5455.1019. 
  13. ^ a b Kittilstved, Kevin; Schwartz, Dana; Tuan, Allan; Heald, Steve; Chambers, Scott; Gamelin, Daniel (2006). "Direct Kinetic Correlation of Carriers and Ferromagnetism in Co2+:  ZnO". Physical Review Letters. 97 (3). Bibcode:2006PhRvL..97c7203K. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.97.037203. 
  14. ^ "Green pigment spins chip promise". BBC News. 2006-08-09. Retrieved 2010-09-19. 
  15. ^ "Muons in Magnetic Semiconductors". Retrieved 2010-09-19. 
  16. ^ Fukumura, T; Toyosaki, H; Yamada, Y (2005). "Magnetic oxide semiconductors". Semiconductor Science and Technology. 20 (4): S103–S111. Bibcode:2005SeScT..20S.103F. arXiv:cond-mat/0504168Freely accessible. doi:10.1088/0268-1242/20/4/012. 
  17. ^ Martínez-Boubeta, C.; Beltrán, J. I.; Balcells, Ll.; Konstantinović, Z.; Valencia, S.; Schmitz, D.; Arbiol, J.; Estrade, S.; Cornil, J. (2010-07-08). "Ferromagnetism in transparent thin films of MgO". Physical Review B. 82 (2): 024405. Bibcode:2010PhRvB..82b4405M. doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.82.024405. 
  18. ^ Jambois, O.; Carreras, P.; Antony, A.; Bertomeu, J.; Martínez-Boubeta, C. (2011-12-01). "Resistance switching in transparent magnetic MgO films". Solid State Communications. 151 (24): 1856–1859. Bibcode:2011SSCom.151.1856J. doi:10.1016/j.ssc.2011.10.009. 
  19. ^ "New room-temperature magnetic semiconductor material holds promise for ‘spintronics’ data-storage devices". KurzweilAI. Retrieved 2013-09-17. 
  20. ^ Lee, Y. F.; Wu, F.; Kumar, R.; Hunte, F.; Schwartz, J.; Narayan, J. (2013). "Epitaxial integration of dilute magnetic semiconductor Sr3SnO with Si (001)". Applied Physics Letters. 103 (11): 112101. Bibcode:2013ApPhL.103k2101L. doi:10.1063/1.4820770. 
  21. ^ Chambers, Scott A. (2010). "Epitaxial Growth and Properties of Doped Transition Metal and Complex Oxide Films". Advanced Materials. 22 (2): 219–248. PMID 20217685. doi:10.1002/adma.200901867.