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TitleRare-earth mononitrides
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsNatali, F., Ruck B.J., Plank N.O.V., Trodahl H.J., Granville S., Meyer C., and Lambrecht W.R.L.
JournalProgress in Materials Science
Pagination1316 - 1360
Date Published2013
ISSN00796425 (ISSN)
KeywordsElectric properties, Electrical and magnetic property, Electronic structure, Epitaxial growth, Ferromagnetic properties, Growth (materials), Growth technologies, Magnetic moments, Magnetoelectronics, Semiconductor device manufacture, Semiconductor technology, Spintronic applications, Theoretical and experimental, Theoretical calculations, Thin film fabrication, Thin films
AbstractWhen the rare earth mononitrides (RENs) first burst onto the scientific scene in the middle of last century, there were feverish dreams that their strong magnetic moment would afford a wide range of applications. For decades research was frustrated by poor stoichiometry and the ready reaction of the materials in ambient conditions, and only recently have these impediments finally been overcome by advances in thin film fabrication with ultra-high vacuum based growth technology. Currently, the field of research into the RENs is growing rapidly, motivated by the materials demands of proposed electronic and spintronic devices. Both semiconducting and ferromagnetic properties have been established in some of the RENs which thus attract interest for the potential to exploit the spin of charge carriers in semiconductor technologies for both fundamental and applied science. In this review, we take stock of where progress has occurred within the last decade in both theoretical and experimental fields, and which has led to the point where a proof-of-concept spintronic device based on RENs has already been demonstrated. The article is organized into three major parts. First, we describe the epitaxial growth of REN thin films and their structural properties, with an emphasis on their prospective spintronic applications. Then, we conduct a critical review of the different advanced theoretical calculations utilized to determine both the electronic structure and the origins of the magnetism in these compounds. The rest of the review is devoted to the recent experimental results on optical, electrical and magnetic properties and their relation to current theoretical descriptions. These results are discussed particularly with regard to the controversy about the exact nature of the magnetic state and conduction processes in the RENs. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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