Mavropoulos P, Wunnicke O, Dederichs PH.

Ballistic spin injection and detection in Fe/semiconductor/Fe junctions. PHYSICAL REVIEW B. 2002;66:024416.

AbstractWe present ab initio calculations of the spin-dependent electronic transport in Fe/GaAs/Fe and Fe/ZnSe/Fe (001) junctions simulating the situation of a spin-injection experiment. We follow a ballistic Landauer-Buttiker approach for the calculation of the spin-dependent dc conductance in the linear-response regime, in the limit of zero temperature. We show that the bulk band structure of the leads and of the semiconductor, and even more the electronic structure of a clean and abrupt interface, are responsible for a current polarization and a magnetoresistance ratio of almost the ideal 100%, if the transport is ballistic. In particular, we study the significance of the transmission resonances caused by the presence of two interfaces.

Wunnicke O, Mavropoulos P, Zeller R, Dederichs PH, Grundler D.

Ballistic spin injection from Fe(001) into ZnSe and GaAs. PHYSICAL REVIEW B. 2002;65:241306.

AbstractWe consider the spin injection from Fe into ZnSe and GaAs in the ballistic limit. By means of the ab initio screened Korringa-Kohn-Rostoker method we calculate the ground-state properties of epitaxial Fe\textbackslash{}ZnSe(001) and Fe\textbackslash{}GaAs(001) heterostructures. Three injection processes are considered: injection of hot electrons and injection of ``thermal{''} electrons with and without an interface barrier. The calculation of the conductance by the Landauer formula shows that these interfaces act like a nearly ideal spin filter, with spin polarization as high as 99%. This can be traced back to the symmetry of the band structure of Fe for normal incidence.

Dederichs PH, Mavropoulos P, Wunnicke O, Papanikolaou N, Bellini V, Zeller R, Drchal V, Kudrnovsky J.

Importance of complex band structure and resonant states for tunneling. JOURNAL OF MAGNETISM AND MAGNETIC MATERIALS. 2002;240:108-113.

AbstractThe paper aims at understanding the tunneling process in epitaxial magnetic tunnel junctions. Firstly, we stress the importance of the complex band structure of the insulator for the tunneling of the metal electrons. For large insulator thicknesses the tunneling current is carried by very few states, i.e., those states in the gap of the semiconductor having the smallest imaginary component of the k-vector. In the case of GaAs, ZnSe and MgO these are Delta(1)-states at the Gamma-point. Secondly, we discuss the role of resonant interface states for tunneling. Based on simple model calculations and ab initio results we demonstrate that for symmetrical barriers the minority conductance can be dominated in an intermediate thickness range by few `hot spots' in the surface Brillouin zone, arising from resonant interface states. In these hot spots full transmission can still be obtained, when all other states are already strongly attenuated, so that the usual exponential decay can be considerably delayed. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Freyss M, Mavropoulos P, Papanikolaou N, Bellini V, Zeller R, Dederichs PH.

Tunneling transport in Ferromagnet/Insulator/Ferromagnet junctions. PHASE TRANSITIONS. 2002;75:159-166.

AbstractWe study the spin-dependent transport in expitaxial Ferromagnet/Insulator/Ferromagnet junctions. Firstly we show that the tunneling through the insulator can be described by the complex band structure of the insulator in the gap region, i.e. by the metal-induced gap states. Since the imaginary part of the Bloch vector describes the decay of the wave function, we calculate the spectrum of the decay parameters K for several semiconductors. For large thicknesses the state with the smallest K-value dominates the current. In the second part we present the results of ground state calculation for Fe/ZnSe/Fe(001) and related junctions. We obtain a rather localized charge transfer from the interface Fe layer to the neighbouring semiconductor layer, which is largest for the low-valent termination. Moreover we find that the local moments at the interface depend sensitively on the lattice parameter chosen. Finally, we show that in the minority band at E(F) an Fe interface state exists, which deeply penetrates into the barrier.