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Thin films

Unexpected magnetism in a dielectric oxide

Nature volume 430, page 630 (05 August 2004) | Download Citation

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Abstract

It is generally accepted that magnetic order in an insulator requires the cation to have partially filled shells of d or f electrons. Here we show that thin films of hafnium dioxide (HfO2), an insulating oxide better known as a dielectric layer for nanoscale electronic devices, can be ferromagnetic even without doping. This discovery challenges our understanding of magnetism in insulators, because neither Hf4+ nor O2− are magnetic ions and the d and f shells of the Hf4+ ion are either empty or full.

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Affiliations

  1. SFI-Trinity Nanoscience Laboratory, Physics Department, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland

    • M. Venkatesan
    • , C. B. Fitzgerald
    •  & J. M. D. Coey

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to J. M. D. Coey.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/430630a

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