The zero-moment half metal: How can it change spintronics?

author: J. M. D. Coey, School of Physics, Trinity College Dublin
published: Jan. 25, 2016,   recorded: December 2015,   views: 4209


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A zero-moment half metal is a ferromagnetic metal with a gap in the density of states at the Fermi level for either the spin-up or spin-down electrons. Such a material, if stoichiometric, should have a spin moment which is an integral number of Bohr magnetons per formula unit, 4, 3, 2, 1, or 0. The zero-moment case is particularly intriguing. The material will be magnetically ordered with no net moment (like an antiferromagnet) but unlike an antiferromagnet the magnetic sublattices are inequivalent, and there is 100% spin polarization at the Fermi level. It creates no stray field, and is insensitive to external field. Although predicted by de Groot 25 years ago, data on the first experimental realization, Mn2Ru0.5Ga (MRG), was only published recently. The preparation and properties of thin films of this cubic Heusler alloy will first be presented, and then its potential impact on perpendicular magnetic tunnel junctions, magnetic memory and ultra-high-frequency spin torque oscillators will be discussed. For the last application, there is a prospect of creating on-chip spintronic oscillators that can breach the THz gap, and assure the future of the big data revolution for the next generation.

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