Electrical spin injection from an n-type ferromagnetic semiconductor into a III-V device heterostructure

George Kioseoglou, Aubrey T Hanbicki, James M Sullivan, Olaf M J van 't Erve, Connie H Li, Steven C Erwin, Robert Mallory, Mesut Yasar, Athos Petrou, Berend T Jonker
Nature Materials 2004, 3 (11): 799-803
The use of carrier spin in semiconductors is a promising route towards new device functionality and performance. Ferromagnetic semiconductors (FMSs) are promising materials in this effort. An n-type FMS that can be epitaxially grown on a common device substrate is especially attractive. Here, we report electrical injection of spin-polarized electrons from an n-type FMS, CdCr(2)Se(4), into an AlGaAs/GaAs-based light-emitting diode structure. An analysis of the electroluminescence polarization based on quantum selection rules provides a direct measure of the sign and magnitude of the injected electron spin polarization. The sign reflects minority rather than majority spin injection, consistent with our density-functional-theory calculations of the CdCr(2)Se(4) conduction-band edge. This approach confirms the exchange-split band structure and spin-polarized carrier population of an FMS, and demonstrates a litmus test for these FMS hallmarks that discriminates against spurious contributions from magnetic precipitates.

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