Ultrathin Epitaxial Ferromagnetic γ-Fe2O3 Layer as High Efficiency Spin Filtering Materials for Spintronics Device Based on Semiconductors

Peng Li, Chuan Xia, Zhiyong Zhu, Yan Wen, Qiang Zhang, Husam N. Alshareef, Xi Xiang Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In spintronics, identifying an effective technique for generating spin-polarized current has fundamental importance. The spin-filtering effect across a ferromagnetic insulating layer originates from unequal tunneling barrier heights for spin-up and spin-down electrons, which has shown great promise for use in different ferromagnetic materials. However, the low spin-filtering efficiency in some materials can be ascribed partially to the difficulty in fabricating high-quality thin film with high Curie temperature and/or partially to the improper model used to extract the spin-filtering efficiency. In this work, a new technique is successfully developed to fabricate high quality, ferrimagnetic insulating γ-Fe2O3 films as spin filter. To extract the spin-filtering effect of γ-Fe2O3 films more accurately, a new model is proposed based on Fowler–Nordheim tunneling and Zeeman effect to obtain the spin polarization of the tunneling currents. Spin polarization of the tunneled current can be as high as −94.3% at 2 K in γ-Fe2O3 layer with 6.5 nm thick, and the spin polarization decays monotonically with temperature. Although the spin-filter effect is not very high at room temperature, this work demonstrates that spinel ferrites are very promising materials for spin injection into semiconductors at low temperature, which is important for development of novel spintronics devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5679-5689
Number of pages11
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number31
StatePublished - Aug 16 2016


  • epitaxy
  • magnetic materials
  • thin films

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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