Electron Tunneling Transport Across Heterojunctions Between Europium Sulfide and Indium Arsenide
Kallaher, Raymond L. (author)
Van Molnár, Stephan (professor directing dissertation)
Strouse, Geoffrey (outside committee member)
Xiong, Peng (committee member)
Bonesteel, Nicholas (committee member)
Reina, Laura (committee member)
Department of Physics (degree granting department)
Florida State University (degree granting institution)
This dissertation presents research done on utilizing the ferromagnetic semiconductor europium sulfide (EuS) to inject spin polarized electrons into the non-magnetic semiconductor indium arsenide (InAs). There is great interest in expanding the functionality of modern day electronic circuits by creating devices that depend not only on the flow of charge in the device, but also on the transport of spin through the device. Within this mindset, there is a concerted effort to establish an efficient means of injecting and detecting spin polarized electrons in a two dimensional electron system (2DES) as the first step in developing a spin based field effect transistor. Thus, the research presented in this thesis has focused on the feasibility of using EuS, in direct electrical contact with InAs, as a spin injecting electrode into an InAs 2DES. Doped EuS is a concentrated ferromagnetic semiconductor, whose conduction band undergoes a giant Zeeman splitting when the material becomes ferromagnetic. The concomitant difference in energy between the spin-up and spin-down energy bands makes the itinerant electrons in EuS highly spin polarized. Thus, in principle, EuS is a good candidate to be used as an injector of spin polarized electrons into non-magnetic materials. In addition, the ability to adjust the conductivity of EuS by varying the doping level in the material makes EuS particularly suited for injecting spins into non-magnetic semiconductors and 2DES. For this research, thin films of EuS have been grown via e-beam evaporation of EuS powder. This growth technique produces EuS films that are sulfur deficient; these sulfur vacancies act as intrinsic electron donors and the resulting EuS films behave like heavily doped ferromagnetic semiconductors. The growth parameters and deposition procedures were varied and optimized in order to fabricate films that have minimal crystalline defects. Various properties and characteristics of these EuS films were measured and compared to those characteristics found in previous reported work on doped EuS crystals. In particular, the magnetic switching behavior of individual micro-fabricated EuS structures was investigated to determine what types of spintronic devices EuS is best suited for. These studies found that the crystalline anisotropy of EuS dominates the switching behavior in EuS thin film structures with minimum feature sizes greater than ~ 5 ìm. This, in conjunction with the relatively high resistance of junctions between EuS and semiconductors, restricts the use of two tandem EuS electrodes in all semiconductor spintronic devices that require independently switching ferromagnetic electrodes. Spin transport studies in InAs 2DES are particularly interesting because of the heterostructure's high electron mobility and tunable spin-orbit interactions.Detailed measurements of the electrical transport characteristics across the heterojunction formed between EuS and InAs were taken in order to investigate the spin transport characteristics across the junction. These measurements show that the electrical transport across the heterojunction, below the ferromagnetic transition temperature, is directly related to the magnetization of the EuS layer and thus the transport is dominated by the spin-dependent Schottky barrier formed in EuS. Using a simple theory developed for these junctions, the magnitude of the change in barrier height – half the Zeeman splitting of the conduction band in EuS – was found to be ~0.22 eV. The electrical transport measurements of the heterojunction between EuS and InAs at temperatures well above the ferromagnetic transition temperature of EuS shows that there are at least two separate scattering mechanisms in these junctions. As expected, critical scattering is the dominate scattering mechanism in the strongly paramagnetic regime; however, unexpectedly, the data show that critical scattering is not the dominate mechanism at temperatures greater than ~ 100 K. The high temperature electrical transport measurements of the EuS / InAs heterojunction, in conjunction with low temperature zero-bias conductance measurements on junctions between EuS and gold (Au), suggest that there exists an interfacial layer in series with the magnetic Schottky barrier in these EuS junctions. This interfacial layer is modeled and explained as resulting from a rather high concentration of defects at the interface between EuS and the counter electrode.
Eus, Spin Dependent Tunneling, Europium Sulfide
June 4, 2007.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Physics in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Stephan von Molnár, Professor Directing Dissertation; Geoffrey Strouse, Outside Committee Member; Peng Xiong, Committee Member; Nicholas Bonesteel, Committee Member; Laura Reina, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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