Using structural disorder to enhance the magnetism and spin-polarization in FexSi1-x thin films for spintronics

J. Karel, Y. N. Zhang, C. Bordel, K. H. Stone, Tingyong Chen, C. A. Jenkins, David Smith, J. Hu, R. Q. Wu, S. M. Heald, J. B. Kortright, F. Hellman

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10 Scopus citations


Amorphous FexSi1-x thin films exhibit a striking enhancement in magnetization compared to crystalline films with the same composition (0.45 < x < 0.75), and xray magnetic circular dichroism reveals an enhancement in both spin and orbital moments in the amorphous films. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations reproduce this enhanced magnetization and also show a relatively large spinpolarization at the Fermi energy, also seen experimentally in Andreev reflection. Theory and experiment show that the amorphous materials have a decreased number of nearest neighbors and reduced number density relative to the crystalline samples of the same composition; the associated decrease in Fe-Si neighbors reduces the hybridization of Fe orbitals, leading to the enhanced moment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number026102
JournalMaterials Research Express
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Amorphous
  • Density functional theory
  • Spintronics
  • Thin film magnetism
  • X-ray absorption
  • X-ray magnetic circular dichroism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys


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