Promising doped zirconia

May 17, 2013
Promising doped zirconia

Materials belonging to the family of dilute magnetic oxides (DMOs)—an oxide-based variant of the dilute magnetic semiconductors—are good candidates for spintronics applications. This is the object of study for Davide Sangalli of the Microelectronics and Microsystems Institute (IMM) at the National Research Council (CNR), in Agrate Brianza, Italy, and colleagues. They recently explored the effect of iron (Fe) doping on thin films of a material called zirconia (ZrO2 oxide). For the first time, the authors bridged the gap between the theoretical predictions and the experimental measurements of this material, in a paper about to be published in EPJ B.

Spintronics exploit an of the electrons found in semi-conductors called spin, akin to the electrons' degree of freedom. This determines the , known as magnetic moment, of the material under study. The challenge is to create such material with the highest possible temperature, as this will ensure that its magnetic properties can be used in room-temperature applications.

To study iron-doped zirconia, they examined its magnetic properties and its electronic structure from both a theoretical and experimental perspective. They then compared theory and experiments to find the most stable configuration of the material. Theoretical work included first-principles simulations. In parallel, their experimental work relied on many different well-established analytical techniques, including X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, , and alternating gradient force magnetometer measurements.

Sangalli and colleagues therefore gained a better understanding of doped zirconia, which features oxygen vacancies, playing a crucial role in providing its unique electronic and magnetic characteristics. They have also predicted theoretically how the deviation from the standard structure influences this material's properties. They are currently investigating, experimentally, how the magnetism evolves with changing concentrations of iron and oxygen vacancies to confirm theoretical predictions.

Explore further: Researchers find tin selenide shows promise for efficiently converting waste heat into electrical energy

More information: European Physical Journal B. DOI 10.1140/epjb/e2013-30669-3

Related Stories

Mediating magnetism

May 04, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Titanium oxide doped with cobalt produces magnetic properties at room temperature via a newly discovered mechanism.

Semiconductors with electric and magnetic properties

Oct 17, 2012

European scientists developed solid-state semiconductor components with magnetic properties, a prerequisite for a new generation of electronic devices exploiting both the charge and the spin of electrons.

Recommended for you

Novel technique opens door to better solar cells

Apr 14, 2014

A team of scientists, led by Assistant Professor Andrivo Rusydi from the Department of Physics at the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Faculty of Science, has successfully developed a technique to ...

Probing metal solidification nondestructively

Apr 14, 2014

(Phys.org) —Los Alamos researchers and collaborators have used nondestructive imaging techniques to study the solidification of metal alloy samples. The team used complementary methods of proton radiography ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Robotics goes micro-scale

(Phys.org) —The development of light-driven 'micro-robots' that can autonomously investigate and manipulate the nano-scale environment in a microscope comes a step closer, thanks to new research from the ...

Clean air: Fewer sources for self-cleaning

Up to now, HONO, also known as nitrous acid, was considered one of the most important sources of hydroxyl radicals (OH), which are regarded as the detergent of the atmosphere, allowing the air to clean itself. ...

Turning off depression in the brain

Scientists have traced vulnerability to depression-like behaviors in mice to out-of-balance electrical activity inside neurons of the brain's reward circuit and experimentally reversed it – but there's ...