Spin injection and relaxation in ferromagnet-semiconductor heterostructures

C. Adelmann, X. Lou, J. Strand, C. J. Palmstrøm, P. A. Crowell

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125 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present a detailed description of spin injection and detection in Fe/Al xGa 1-xAs/GaAs heterostructures for temperatures from 2 to 295 K. Measurements of the steady-state spin polarization in the semiconductor indicate three temperature regimes for spin transport and relaxation. At temperatures below 70 K, spinpolarized electrons injected into quantum well structures form excitons, and the spin polarization in the quantum well depends strongly on the electrical bias conditions. At intermediate temperatures, the spin polarization is determined primarily by the spin-relaxation rate for free electrons in the quantum well. This process is slow relative to the excitonic spin-relaxation rate at lower temperatures and is responsible for a broad maximum in the spin polarization between 100 and 200 K. The spin injection efficiency of the Fe/Al xGa 1-xAs Schottky barrier decreases at higher temperatures, although a steady-state spin polarization of at least 6% is observed at 295 K.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number121301
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Volume71
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 15 2005

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