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Growth and Electronic Structure of Heusler Compounds for Use in Electron Spin Based Devices

Patel, Sahil Jaykumar
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Materials
Degree Supervisor:
Christopher Palmstrom
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
Materials science and Quantum physics
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2015

Spintronic devices, where information is carried by the quantum spin state of the electron instead of purely its charge, have gained considerable interest for their use in future computing technologies. For optimal performance, a pure spin current, where all electrons have aligned spins, must be generated and transmitted across many interfaces and through many types of materials. While conventional spin sources have historically been elemental ferromagnets, like Fe or Co, these materials pro duce only partially spin polarized currents. To increase the spin polarization of the current, materials like half-metallic ferromagnets, where there is a gap in the minority spin density of states around the Fermi level, or topological insulators, where the current transport is dominated by spin-locked surface states, show promise. A class of materials called Heusler compounds, with electronic structures that range from normal metals, to half metallic ferromagnets, semiconductors, superconductors and even topological insulators, interfaces well with existing device technologies, and through the use of molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) high quality heterostructures and films can be grown. This dissertation examines the electronic structure of surfaces and interfaces of both topological insulator (PtLuSb-- and PtLuBi--) and half-metallic ferromagnet (Co2MnSi-- and Co2FeSi--) III-V semiconductor heterostructures.

PtLuSb and PtLuBi growth by MBE was demonstrated on Alx In1--xSb (001) ternaries. PtLuSb (001) surfaces were observed to reconstruct with either (1x3) or c(2x2) unit cells depending on Sb overpressure and substrate temperature. viii The electronic structure of these films was studied by scanning tunneling microscopy/spectroscopy (STM/STS) and photoemission spectroscopy. STS measurements as well as angle resolved photoemission spectropscopy (ARPES) suggest that PtLuSb has a zero-gap or semimetallic band structure. Additionally, the observation of linearly dispersing surface states, with an approximate crossing point 240meV above the Fermi level, suggests that PtLuSb (001) films are topologically non-trivial. PtLuBi films also display a Fermi level position approximately 500meV below the valence band maximum.

Co2MnSi and Co2FeSi were also grown by MBE on GaAs (001) for use as spin injectors into GaAs lateral spin valve devices. By the growth of the quaternary alloy Co2FexMn1-- xSi and varying x, electron doping of the full Heusler compound was demonstrated by observation of a crossover from a majority spin polarization of Co2MnSi to a minority spin polarization in Co2FeSi. Co2MnSi films were studied as a function of the nucleation sequence, using either Co-- or MnSi-- initiated films on c(4x4) GaAs. Studies using x-ray photoemission spectroscopy (XPS), STM/STS, and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) suggest that the bulk of the Co2MnSi films and the interfacial structure between Co 2MnSi and GaAs is not modified by the nucleation sequence, but a change in spin transport characteristics suggests a modification of semiconductor band structure at the Co2MnSi/GaAs interface due to diffusion of Mn leading to compensation of the Schottky barrier contact. Diffusion of Mn into the GaAs was confirmed by secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) measurements. The proposed mechanism for the modified spin transport characteristics for MnSi initiated films is that additional diffusion of Mn into the GaAs, widens the Schottky barrier contact region. These studies suggest that the ideal initiation sequence for Co2MnSi/GaAs (001) lateral spin valve devices is achieved by deposition of Co first.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (196 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
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Copyright Holder:
Sahil Patel
File Description
Access: Public access
Patel_ucsb_0035D_12580.pdf pdf (Portable Document Format)