The magnetic state of nitrogen-doped MgO, with N substituting O at concentrations between 1% and the concentrated limit, is calculated with density-functional methods. The N atoms are found to be spin polarized with a moment of 1 mu(B) per nitrogen atom and to interact ferromagnetically via the double-exchange mechanism in the full concentration range. The long-range magnetic order is established above a finite concentration of about 1.5% when the percolation threshold is reached. The disorder is described within the coherent-potential approximation, with the exchange interactions harvested by the method of infinitesimal rotations. The Curie temperature T-C, calculated within the random-phase approximation, increases linearly with the concentration, and is found to be about 30 K for 10% concentration. Besides the substitution of single nitrogen atoms, also interstitial nitrogen atoms, dimers and trimers, and their structural relaxations are discussed with respect to the magnetic state. Possible scenarios of engineering a higher Curie temperature are analyzed, with the conclusion that an increase in T-C is difficult to achieve, requiring a particular attention to the choice of chemistry.
Department of Physics National and Kapodistrian University of Athens University Campus GR-157 84 Zografou, Athens