Berkeley Lab Researchers Unlock Ferromagnetic Secrets of Promising Materials
Spintronic technology, in which data is processed on the basis of electron “spin” rather than charge, promises to revolutionize the computing industry with smaller, faster and more energy efficient data storage and processing. Materials drawing a lot of attention for spintronic applications are dilute magnetic semiconductors – normal semiconductors to which a small amount of magnetic atoms is added to make them ferromagnetic. Understanding the source of ferromagnetism in dilute magnetic semiconductors has been a major road-block impeding their further development and use in spintronics. Now a significant step to removing this road-block has been taken.
A multi-institutional collaboration of researchers led by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), using a new technique called HARPES, for Hard x-ray Angle-Resolved PhotoEmission Spectroscopy, has investigated the bulk electronic structure of the prototypical dilute magnetic semiconductor gallium manganese arsenide. Their findings show that the material’s ferromagnetism arises from both of the two different mechanisms that have been proposed to explain it. (more…)