Scientists from Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) and the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (FEB RAS) developed the nanoheterostructure consisted of a nanocrystal magnetite film (Fe3O4) covering a silicon substrate with an additional layer of silicon oxide (SiO2/Si). Its magnetic and magnetotransport properties may help to design highly efficient hybrid semiconductor devices with new spintronic elements. The related article was published in the Journal of Alloys and Compounds.

The new nanoheterostructure is only 75 nm thick and of particular interest, as it can be used as a source of spin-polarized electrons for the semiconductor silicon substrate.

The authors of the work for the first time described optimal conditions for the formation of the containing only Fe3O4 nanocrystals. The in these structures has certain preferred orientation against the Si-substrate called the crystalline texture.

"Reactive deposition has already been proven as an effective method for the production of nanofilms. In our work, we used the reactive deposition of iron in an oxygen atmosphere. We studied the effect of the structure and morphology of Fe3O4 nanofilms on their magnetic and electrical properties. We described the conditions under which the best films can be obtained and further used in devices operating on the basis of spin-polarized electron injection into silicon via an ultrathin layer of SiO2. The results of our fundamental research can, therefore, be widely used in applied physics," Vyacheslav Balashev said. Balashev is an engineer at the Department of Physics of Low-Dimensional Structures, School of Natural Sciences, FEFU, and a senior researcher at the Laboratory for Hybrid Structures, Institute of Automation and Control Processes, FEB RAS.

Electron spin polarization is much more effective in the new structure than in the films of other magnetic materials. This will help to create spin injectors for spintronic devices.

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