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Computational Spintronics

Final Activity Report Summary - COMP. SPINTRONICS (Computational spintronics)

Spintronics combines the elements of electronics and magnetism into a new field that is expected to play an important role in applications in information technology. An example of such application is the spin field effect transistor (spin-FET) that could be the basic building block in quantum computers for the future. In order to facilitate a working device, suitable materials need to be found and in essence that was the main objective for the project. An important and promising class of materials that might be suitable are dilute magnetic semiconductors (DMS) like Ga1-xMnxAs and they are considered as ideal materials for spintronics. Only a few percent of Mn impurities are needed to achieve ferromagnetism. Thus the hope is that they can substitute the metallic ferromagnets to achieve all-semiconductor spintronics. In the project, a lot of attention has been put trying to understand this class of material starting from the fundamentals, the electronic structure, using state-of-the-art computational methods. In short, the most important results for the spintronics was a study of trends with respect to band filling of the exchange interactions responsible for magnetism in DMS and a proposed method to increase Curie temperature of DMS employing codoping of light interstitial atoms like Li.

During the project, some new lines of research was also taken, namely studies of the well known Kondo effect of magnetic impurities in nonmagnetic metals and developing computational methods to calculate thermal properties like thermal conductivity and phonons for thermal barrier coating materials (TBC) and thermoelectric materials.