The emergence of the field of spintronics has brought half-metallic ferromagnets to the centre of scientific research. A lot of interest was focused on newly created transition-metal pnictides (such as CrAs) and chalcogenides (such as CrTe) in the metastable zinc-blende lattice structure. These compounds were found to have the advantage of high Curie temperatures in addition to their structural similarity to semiconductors. Significant theoretical activity has been devoted to the study of the electronic and magnetic properties of these compounds in an effort to achieve a better control of their experimental behaviour in realistic applications. This paper is devoted to an overview of the studies of these compounds, with emphasis on theoretical results, covering their bulk properties (electronic structure, magnetism, stability of the zinc-blende phase, stability of ferromagnetism) as well as low-dimensional structures (surfaces, interfaces, nanodots and transition-metal delta-doped semiconductors) and phenomena that can possibly destroy the half-metallic property, like structural distortions or defects.
Department of Physics National and Kapodistrian University of Athens University Campus GR-157 84 Zografou, Athens