Investigaton of the Suitability of Wide Bandgap Dilute Magnetic Semiconductors for Spintronics
Kane, Matthew Hartmann
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New semiconductor materials may enable next-generation â spintronicâ devices which exploit both the spin and charge of an electron for data processing, storage, and transfer. The realization of such devices would benefit greatly from room temperature ferromagnetic dilute magnetic semiconductors. Theoretical predictions have suggested that room temperature ferromagnetism may be possible in the wide bandgap semiconductors GaMnN and ZnMnO, though the existing models require input from the growth of high-quality materials. This work focuses on an experimental effort to develop high-quality materials in both of these wide bandgap materials systems. ZnMnO and ZnCoO single crystals have been grown by a modified melt growth technique. X-ray diffraction was used to examine the structural quality and demonstrate the single crystal character of these devices. Substitutional transition metal incorporation has been verified by optical transmission and electron paramagnetic resonance measurements. No indications of ferromagnetic hysteresis are observed from the bulk single crystal samples, and temperature dependent magnetization studies demonstrate a dominant antiferromagnetic exchange interaction. Efforts to introduce ferromagnetic ordering were only successful through processing techniques which significantly degraded the material quality. GaMnN thin films were grown by metalorganic chemical vapor deposition. Good crystalline quality and a consistent growth mode with Mn incorporation were verified by several independent characterization techniques. Substitutional incorporation of Mn on the Ga lattice site was confirmed by electron paramagnetic resonance. Mn acted as a deep acceptor in GaN. Nevertheless, ferromagnetic hysteresis was observed in the GaMnN films. The apparent strength of the magnetization correlated with the relative ratio of trivalent to divalent Mn. Valence state control through codoping with additional donors such as silicon was observed. Additional studies on GaFeN also showed a magnetic hysteresis. A comparison with implanted samples showed that the common origin to the apparent strong ferromagnetic hysteresis related to contribution from Mn substitutional ions. The observed magnetic hysteresis is due to the formation of Mn-rich regions during the growth process. This work demonstrated that the original intrinsic models for room temperature ferromagnetism in the wide bandgap semiconductors do not hold and the room temperature ferromagnetism in these materials results from extrinsic contributions.