Zinc Oxide based Diluted Magnetic Semiconductors

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Title: Zinc Oxide based Diluted Magnetic Semiconductors
Author: Ramahandran, Shivaraman
Advisors: Prof.Nadia.A.Elmasry, Committee Member
Prof.Jagdish Narayan, Committee Chair
Prof.John.F.Muth, Committee Member
Prof.John.T.Prater, Committee Member
Abstract: During my graduate research I have synthesized materials known as diluted magnetic semiconductors (DMS) as epitaxial thin film structures using the process of pulsed laser deposition (PLD). These materials are envisioned to be of importance in the emerging field of spintronics where the charge as well as the spin of the charge carriers can be combined to yield unique functionalities to yield novel devices including, on-chip memories, ultra-low power devices etc. The material of interest in this dissertation was zinc oxide, a wide bandgap optoelectronic semiconductor. ZnO has a bandgap of 3.3 eV. It is an ideal candidate for spintronics applications, because Zn is the last of the first row transition metals, which leads to pretty high solubility of transition metals such as Co, Mn and V in ZnO. In a diluted magnetic semiconductor a fraction of the host atoms is substituted by the transition metal dopant ion. We have found that we can synthesize very high quality, single phase and single crystalline Zn(TM)O thin films on basal plane sapphire single crystals (-Al2O3). We have analyzed the magnetic properties of the three systems of ZnVO, ZnCoO and ZnMnO and found that ZnCoO and ZnMnO exhibit ferromagnetic ordering up to room temperature, when synthesized under high vacuum. In these conditions, the samples have a reasonable concentration of point defects which drive ZnO to n-type conductivity. By a combination of insitu and exsitu variation of parameters we have been able to tune the electronic and magnetic properties of these systems. From these studies we conclude that the main mechanism of magnetic ordering in these DMS materials is through a combination of defect related carrier induced exchange and bound magnetic polaron exchange. Device structures were fabricated using the as deposited samples to study the possibility of spin injection through semiconductors. We have observed that at low temperatures we see a considerable effect from this phenomenon in a magnetic tunnel junction kind of configuration. Hence, this study opens up new avenues and possibilities for a variety of spintronics applications.
Date: 2007-12-15
Degree: PhD
Discipline: Materials Science and Engineering
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/3015

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