Modeling of ferromagnetic semiconductor devices for spintronics

Natalia Lebedeva, Pekka Kuivalainen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


We develop physical models for magnetic semiconductor devices, where a part of the device structure consists of a ferromagnetic semiconductor layer. First we calculate the effect of the exchange interaction between the charge carrier spins and the spins of the localized magnetic electrons on the electronic states, recombination processes, and charge transport in ferromagnetic semiconductors such as (Ga,Mn)As. Taking into account, e.g., the splitting of the conduction and valence bands due to the exchange interaction, we model the electrical characteristics of the basic magnetic semiconductor devices such as Schottky diodes consisting of a nonmagnetic metal/ferromagnetic semiconductor interface, pn diodes consisting of a ferromagnetic/nonmagnetic junction and bipolar transistors having a ferromagnetic emitter. The models predict that at temperatures close to the Curie temperature TC the electrical properties of the magnetic semiconductor devices become strongly dependent on the average spin polarization of the magnetic atoms. A feature in the models is that many device parameters such as diffusion lengths or potential barriers become spin dependent in magnetic semiconductor devices. In a ferromagnetic Schottky diode the sensitivity of the device current I to the external magnetic field may be as large as (∂I/∂B)I−1≈1/T at temperatures close to TC. In a ferromagnetic pn diode both the ideal and recombination currents become magnetic field dependent. In a ferromagnetic bipolar transistor the current gain shows the same sensitivity to the spin polarization as the dc current in the ferromagnetic pn diodes. According to our model calculations optimal structures showing the largest magnetization dependence of the electrical characteristics in III–V ferromagnetic semiconductor devices would be those where the magnetic side of the junction is of n type.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9845-9864
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2003
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • magnetoelectronics
  • exchange interactions (electron)
  • bipolar transistors
  • Schottky diodes
  • ferromagnetic materials
  • magnetic semiconductors
  • p-n junctions
  • Curie temperature
  • local moments


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