Theory based design and optimization of materials for spintronics applications

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University of Alabama Libraries

The Spintronics industry has developed rapidly in the past decade. Finding the right material is very important for Spintronics applications, which requires good understanding of the physics behind specific phenomena. In this dissertation, we will focus on two types of perpendicular transport phenomena, the current-perpendicular-to-plane giant-magneto-resistance (CPP-GMR) phenomenon and the tunneling phenomenon in the magnetic tunnel junctions. The Valet-Fert model is a very useful semi-classical approach for understanding the transport and spin-flip process in CPP-GMR. We will present a finite element based implementation for the Valet-Fert model which enables a practical way to calculate the electron transport in real CPP-GMR spin valves. It is very important to find high spin polarized materials for CPP-GMR spin valves. The half-metal, due to its full spin polarization, is of interest. We will propose a rational way to find half-metals based on the gap theorem. Then we will focus on the high-MR TMR phenomenon. The tunneling theory of electron transport in mesoscopic systems will be covered. Then we will calculate the transport properties of certain junctions with the help of Green's function under the Landauer-Büttiker formalism, also known as the scattering formalism. The damping constant determines the switching rate of a device. We can calculate it using a method based on the Extended Hückel Tight-Binding theory (EHTB). The symmetry filtering effect is very helpful for finding materials for TMR junctions. Based upon which, we find a good candidate material, MnAl, for TMR applications.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Physics, Materials science