Ferromagnetic semiconductor and giant positive magnetoresistance: spintronics nanomaterials for future computer

You Qiang
Department of Physics
University of Idaho

Much interest has been sparked by the discovery of ferromagnetism in a range of oxide semiconductors doped with a few percent of transition metal (TM) cations. The development of ferromagnetic oxide semiconductor materials with giant magnetoresistance (MR) offers many advantages in spintronics devices for future miniaturization of computers. Among them, TM-doped ZnO is an extensively studied n-type wide-band-gap (3.36 eV) semiconductor with a tremendous interest as future mini-computer, blue light emitting, and solar cells. In this talk, Co-doped ZnO and Co-doped Cu2O semiconductor nanoclusters are successfully synthesized by a third generation sputtering-gas-aggregation cluster technique. The Co-doped nanoclusters are ferromagnetic with Curie temperature above room temperature. Both of Co-doped nanoclusters show positive magnetoresistance (PMR) at low temperature, but the amplitude of the PMRs shows an anomalous difference. For similar Co doping concentration at 5 K, PMR is greater than 800% for Co-doped ZnO but only 5% for Co-doped Cu2O nanoclusters. Giant PMR in Co-doped ZnO which is attributed to large Zeeman splitting effect has a linear dependence on applied magnetic field with very high sensitivity, which makes it convenient for the future spintronics applications. The small PMR in Co-doped Cu2O is related to its vanishing density of states at Fermi level. Research work is supported by DOE-BES and DOE-EPSCoR.