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Publication numberUS20070082230 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/557,665
PCT numberPCT/US2004/016156
Publication dateApr 12, 2007
Filing dateMay 24, 2004
Priority dateMay 22, 2003
Also published asUS20130299786, WO2004107405A2, WO2004107405A3
Publication number10557665, 557665, PCT/2004/16156, PCT/US/2004/016156, PCT/US/2004/16156, PCT/US/4/016156, PCT/US/4/16156, PCT/US2004/016156, PCT/US2004/16156, PCT/US2004016156, PCT/US200416156, PCT/US4/016156, PCT/US4/16156, PCT/US4016156, PCT/US416156, US 2007/0082230 A1, US 2007/082230 A1, US 20070082230 A1, US 20070082230A1, US 2007082230 A1, US 2007082230A1, US-A1-20070082230, US-A1-2007082230, US2007/0082230A1, US2007/082230A1, US20070082230 A1, US20070082230A1, US2007082230 A1, US2007082230A1
InventorsJing Shi, Valy Vardeny
Original AssigneeJing Shi, Valy Vardeny
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Spin valves using organic spacers and spin-organic light-emitting structures using ferromagnetic electrodes
US 20070082230 A1
Abstract
The spacer in a spin-valve is replaced with an organic layer, allowing for numerous applications, including light-emitting structures. The invention demonstrates that the spin coherence of the organic material is sufficiently long that the carriers do not lose their spin memory even in traversing a thicker passive barrier. At least three methods to fabricate the organic spin-valve devices are disclosed, in which the difficulties associated with depositing the ferromagnetic (FM) and organic layers are addressed.
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Claims(16)
1. A spin-valve device, comprising:
two ferromagnetic electrodes; and
an organic spacer layer between the two ferromagnetic electrodes.
2. The spin-valve device of claim 1, wherein the electrodes and spacer are vertically stacked.
3. The spin-valve device of claim 1, including a metallic ferromagnetic electrode.
4. The spin-valve device of claim 3, wherein the ferromagnetic electrode is composed of Co, Ni, Fe, or alloys thereof.
5. The spin-valve device of claim 1, including a semi-metallic ferromagnetic electrode.
6. The spin-valve device of claim 5, wherein the ferromagnetic electrode is ReMnO3 or CrO2.
7. The spin-valve device of claim 1, including a π-conjugated organic semiconductor ferromagnetic electrode.
8. The spin-valve device of claim 7, wherein the ferromagnetic electrode is selected from polythiophenes, polyparaphenylenes, polyparaphenylenevynylenes, and polyfluorenes and their block co-polymers.
9. The spin-valve device of claim 7, wherein the ferromagnetic electrode is 4-thiophene, 6-thiophen, or 3-PPV, such as distyryl benzene, or other small oligomer.
10. The spin-valve device of claim 7, wherein the ferromagnetic electrode is a porphyrine, AlQ3, PBD, dendrimer, or other small molecule.
11. The spin-valve device of claim 1, wherein the organic spacer layer has a thickness of 50 nanometers or greater.
12. The spin-valve device of claim 1, wherein the thickness of one or both of the ferromagnetic electrodes is 100 nanometers or greater.
13. The spin-valve device of claim 1, wherein the electrodes and spacer layer are configured in a planar geometry.
14. The spin-valve device of claim 1, wherein the electrodes are of the same material but with different widths to control the magnetization switching in each electrode independently.
15. The spin-valve device of claim 1, wherein the electrodes and spacer layer are configured to show an I-V response curve characteristic of a diode.
16. The spin-valve device of claim 1, wherein one or both of the electrodes inject electrons and holes to generate an electroluminescence emission upon application of an externally applied bias voltage.
Description
REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/472,640, filed May 22, 2003, the entire content of which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to spin vales and, more particularly, to spin valves incorporating an organic spacer.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Spin-valves based on the effect of giant magnetoresistance and tunneling magnetoresistance are currently used in high-density magnetic recording heads and magnetoresistive random-access memories. This type of device is based on electrical resistance having two different values; say R1 and R2 that are dependent on an applied external magnetic field. When a magnetic head is in proximity to the spin-valve device it can change the resistance, or it can change voltage if an electric current runs through the device, between the two resistance values R1 and R2. The change in electrical resistance does not involve extra current or voltage; it just reacts to the external magnetic field. A spin-valve can be regarded as a switch, wherein the application of an external magnetic field does the switching.

A conventional vertical spin-valve device can be constructed using two thin ferromagnetic layers (each with a thickness of less than 100 nm) and a spacer in between, which can be a metallic or insulating thin layer (a few nm thick). When the magnetization orientation in the two adjacent ferromagnetic electrodes is parallel to each other, the electrical resistance measured perpendicular to the films has value R1; alternatively, when the two magnetization orientations of the two ferromagnetic films are anti-parallel to each other then the resistance is R2, which is different than R1. The magnetization of the electrodes can be arranged to be parallel or anti-parallel to each other by an external magnetic field. The resistance change under the influence of the magnetic field has been dubbed magnetoreistance or MR.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Broadly according to this invention, the spacer in a spin-valve is replaced with an organic layer. However, the thickness of the layer is not limited, allowing for numerous applications, including light-emitting structures. The invention demonstrates that the spin coherence of the organic material is sufficiently long that the carriers do not lose their spin memory even in traversing a thicker passive barrier. At least three methods to fabricate the organic spin-valve devices are disclosed, in which the difficulties associated with depositing the ferromagnetic (FM) and organic layers are addressed.

The Advantages of organic spin-valves over existing inorganic spin-valves are many. First, they are less expensive and easier to fabricate than their inorganic counterparts. There are also many more choices for the materials that make up the organic spacer. As examples, an intermediate layer may be chosen that emits light, changes its electrical properties upon illumination, can be doped in situ, and is sensitive to environmental physical and chemical properties such as humidity, oxygen level, and other environmental factors.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a spin valve constructed in accordance with this invention; and

FIG. 2 is a graph that demonstrates a substantial magnetoresistance effect based upon a device constructed in accordance with this invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 shows a spin valve constructed in accordance with this invention. There are three important layers in this device, namely the two ferromagnetic electrodes (FM1 and FM2), and an organic layer as a spacer. The device may be built on any suitable substrate material. The ferromagnetic electrodes can be metallic (e.g. Co, Ni, Fe or their alloys), half-metallic (e.g. ReMnO3, Re being a rare earth element, or CrO2), or semiconducting (e.g. GaMnAs). The organic layer can incorporate π-conjugated semiconductor polymers or small molecules (e.g. Alq3). In the vertical spin-valve devices that we have demonstrated so far, FM1 was a ferromagnetic oxide, La0.7Sr0.3MnO3, (LSMO); FM2 was a composite layer consisting of Co and Al; whereas the organic semiconductor was Alq3. We have fabricated and realized a large MR in this device (FIG. 2).

Similar spin-valve devices can be realized in planar geometry, in which FM1 and FM2 electrodes may be the same material but need to have different widths in order to control the magnetization switching in each electrode independently. According to this embodiment, we fabricated a vertical device based on two different FM electrodes. In addition, we have also fabricated the spin-valve device and demonstrated its switching capability upon the application of an external magnetic field.

In the vertical organic spin-valve devices, the ferromagnetic layers are typically high-melting temperature material, whereas the organic semiconducting layer has typically low melting temperature. Accordingly, during the FM electrode deposition process, the deposition temperature needs to be much lower than the melting point of the organic materials if the organic materials have been already deposited. Higher temperatures may evaporate the organic film away or cause intermixing between the organic and FM materials that would deteriorate their internal magnetization. As a result the intermixing at the FM/organic interfaces may destroy the magnetoresistance.

In addition, the metallic ferromagnetic electrodes typically oxidize very fast in air. The oxidized interfaces are detrimental to magnetoresistance in the final devices. So it is advantageous to fabricate the metallic electrodes together with the organic semiconductors in vacuum. Sputtering (a common deposition technique) is not preferred for the metallic electrode deposition if the organic layer is already deposited because the plasma is detrimental to the organic semiconductors. Thus, the film deposition is preferably carried out in vacuum at low temperatures. For some spin-injecting electrodes such as the ferromagnetic oxides (e.g. LSMO), in-situ deposition is not required in fabricating the organic spin-valve since they do not react with O2 in air. They can be predeposited, cleaned and then introduced into the vacuum chamber prior to the organic and the second electrode deposition.

FABRICATION METHODS

In the following we describe various alternative fabrication methods for the organic spin-valve.

Method 1

In this method the first layer, FM1 is a predeposited ferromagnetic electrode that is not air sensitive, the organic layer is deposited on FM1 by thermal evaporation at a relatively low temperature, whereas the deposition of the second ferromagnetic layer, FM2 is done by thermal evaporation with cooled substrates and/or with a cooled region near the evaporation source so that the excess heat can be taken away. This ensures that the vacuum chamber is at a sufficiently low temperature that the deposited organic layer will not evaporate away or intermix with FM2 at the interface. The thermal evaporation of FM2 can be replaced with electron-beam evaporation, which typically produces less heat if the evaporation is from a focused spot.

Method 2

A second method can be independently used or used together with the first method. The main idea is to deposit a very thin FM2 layer (thickness of the order of few nm) onto the organic layer so that the high deposition temperature will be needed for a relatively short time. We note that a very thin layer (1 nm or so) of ferromagnetic material is already adequate to establish its ferromagnetism at the interface in order to produce the magnetoreistance. Since a very thin FM2 layer is deposited then if one starts with relatively thick organic layer, some of it would evaporate away during the FM2 layer deposition, but some would remain deposited on the first predeposited FM1 layer. To ensure the device electrical connection and to protect the relatively thin FM2 layer, a low melting temperature metal (e.g. Al, Au) is evaporated on top of FM2.

For demonstrating the organic spin valve we have used the second method. The predeposited FM1 layer was a LSMO ferromagnetic film. We deposited 120 nm thick film of the π-conjugated organic molecule AlQ3 (purchased from Aldrich), and FM2 layer was a 3.5 nm thick of cobalt. A protective layer of aluminum was then deposited onto FM2. The magnetization properties of the ferromagnetic layers FM1 and FM2 were separately measured by magneto-optical technique (MOKE) and the temperature dependence of the magnetization and coercive magnetic field was recorded.

Method 3

We refer to the third method as a flip/bond method. It can be used independently or together with the above two methods. This method works with either metallic or other ferromagnetic electrodes as FM1 and FM2 layers. Both FM1 and FM2 electrodes are deposited first following by an organic layer deposition in vacuum. Then the electrodes that are already covered with the organic can be taken out of the vacuum chamber. One electrode can be flipped with its organic overlayer facing the other electrode with its own organic overlayer. Then the two organic layers are brought together. The electrodes can be aligned and then bonded by heating up to a relatively low temperature to promote adhesion. This methods ensures low temperature deposition and no intermixing at the metal/organic interfaces

MATERIALS

The organic vertical spin valve is composed of at least three layers; two ferromagnetic layers and an organic semiconductor layer. Here we mention various possible materials that can be used for this device.

1. Ferromagnetic Layers

These may be metallic, half metallic or magnetic semiconductors. Metallic ferromagnetic may be iron, cobalt, nickel and their composites. The half metallic can be manganites and other magnetic oxides.

2. Organic Semiconductors (π-conjugated) These can be polymers such as polythiophenes, polyparaphenylenes, polyparaphenylenevynylenes, and polyfluorenes and their block co-polymers. Also they can be small oligomers of the above such as 4-thiophene, 6-thiophen, etc, or 3-PPV, such as distyryl benzene, etc. Also they can be small molecules such as porphyrines, AlQ3, PBD, dendrimers, etc.

In summary, we have fabricated and demonstrated an organic spin-valve device. In addition, we have also successfully shown that carriers (electron and/or holes) with aligned spins can be injected into and transported coherently through π-conjugated organic semiconductor films. This opens up a new field with opportunities to add new functionalities to the existing spin-devices or develop entirely new devices.

OTHER APPLICATIONS

(a) The resistance of the organic spin-valves can be tuned. This may be carried out by engineering the HOMO-LUMO levels of the organic semiconductors relative to the ferromagnetic electrode materials. This can have a great impact in magnetic recording and magnetoresistive random access memory technologies.

(b) Since it has been discovered that the organic semiconductors generally have a long spin diffusion length, the organic spacer in the spin-valves can be made relatively thick. This can make the fabrication process much more reproducible and reliable in magnetic read heads and magnetoresistive random-access memory.

(c) The organic layer is a semiconductor; therefore, the conventional spin-valves can be made active with very interesting possibilities.

    • (i) The spin-valve can be fabricated to show a characteristic I-V response curve of a diode. This can be achieved if the work-functions of the two ferromagnetic electrodes are chosen to be very different from each other. This would eliminate or greatly simplify the complicated and expensive CMOS process used for isolation transistors in the present magnetoresistive random access memory.
    • (ii) The organic layer may be chosen to emit light. Then using ferromagnetic electrodes, FM1 and FM2 to respectively inject electrons and holes then the organic spin-valve actually is transformed into an organic light emitting diode (OLED), with electroluminescence emission upon application of an external bias voltage. We note that the efficiency of such OLED is greatly enhanced if the spins of the injected electrons and holes are controlled by an external magnetic field. In addition the electroluminiescence emission intensity may be controlled by an external magnetic field.
    • (iii) The electrical characteristic properties, as well as the MR value might be changed upon light illumination.
    • (iv) Again the electrical properties may be changed upon in situ doping in the gas phase.
Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6249453 *Apr 18, 2000Jun 19, 2001The University Of ChicagoVoltage controlled spintronic devices for logic applications
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7893426 *Aug 9, 2006Feb 22, 2011Hitachi LimitedSingle-charge tunnelling device
US8077152Oct 15, 2004Dec 13, 2011University Of Iowa Research FoundationMagneto resistive elements and methods for manufacture and use of same
US8098515Jun 29, 2007Jan 17, 2012The Regents Of The University Of CaliforniaSpin injection device having semiconductor-ferromagnetic-semiconductor structure and spin transistor
US8233315Jan 13, 2012Jul 31, 2012The Regents Of The University Of CaliforniaSpin injection device having semiconductor-ferromagnetic-semiconductor structure and spin transistor
Classifications
U.S. Classification428/811, 257/E43.004, G9B/5.077, G9B/5.075
International ClassificationG11B5/39, G11B5/31, H01F10/00, G11B5/29, H01F10/32
Cooperative ClassificationB82Y25/00, G11C11/16, G11B5/3906, H01F10/3213, H01F10/3268, H01F10/3254, B82Y10/00, H01F10/005, G11B5/29, H01L43/10, H01L43/12, H01F10/1936, H01F10/3281, H01L43/08, G11B5/31
European ClassificationB82Y25/00, B82Y10/00, G11C11/16, H01F10/32N6, H01F10/00C, H01F10/32F, H01F10/32N6B, G11B5/31, H01F10/32N4, H01L43/08, G11B5/29
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Aug 24, 2011ASAssignment
Effective date: 20110819
Owner name: THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH RESEARCH FOUNDATION, UTAH
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:THE UNIVERSITY OF UTAH;REEL/FRAME:026797/0839
Nov 22, 2005ASAssignment
Owner name: UNIVERSITY OF UTAH, UTAH
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:SHI, JING;VARDENY, VALY;REEL/FRAME:017970/0904;SIGNING DATES FROM 20051112 TO 20051117