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Open AccessArticle

Magnetic Moments and Electron Transport through Chromium-Based Antiferromagnetic Nanojunctions

1
Department of Chemistry, University of Milan, 20133 Milan, Italy
2
Department of Physics, University of Milan, 20133 Milan, Italy
3
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie Molecolari and INSTM UdR di Milano, via Golgi 19, 20133 Milan, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Current address: Department of Chemistry, University of Basel, Switzerland.
Materials 2018, 11(10), 2030; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11102030
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 20 September 2018 / Accepted: 17 October 2018 / Published: 18 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Density Functional Theory (DFT) Calculation of Materials Properties)
We report the electronic, magnetic and transport properties of a prototypical antiferromagnetic (AFM) spintronic device. We chose Cr as the active layer because it is the only room-temperature AFM elemental metal. We sandwiched Cr between two non-magnetic metals (Pt or Au) with large spin-orbit coupling. We also inserted a buffer layer of insulating MgO to mimic the structure and finite resistivity of a real device. We found that, while spin-orbit has a negligible effect on the current flowing through the device, the MgO layer plays a crucial role. Its effect is to decouple the Cr magnetic moment from Pt (or Au) and to develop an overall spin magnetization. We have also calculated the spin-polarized ballistic conductance of the device within the Büttiker–Landauer framework, and we have found that for small applied bias our Pt/Cr/MgO/Pt device presents a spin polarization of the current amounting to ≃25%. View Full-Text
Keywords: antiferromagnetism; spintronics; electronic transport; DFT; ab initio calculations antiferromagnetism; spintronics; electronic transport; DFT; ab initio calculations
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bragato, M.; Achilli, S.; Cargnoni, F.; Ceresoli, D.; Martinazzo, R.; Soave, R.; Trioni, M.I. Magnetic Moments and Electron Transport through Chromium-Based Antiferromagnetic Nanojunctions. Materials 2018, 11, 2030.

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