Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Large positive magnetoresistive effect in silicon induced by the space-charge effect

Abstract

Recent discoveries of large magnetoresistance in non-magnetic semiconductors1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 have gained much attention because the size of the effect is comparable to, or even larger than, that of magnetoresistance in magnetic systems9,10,11,12,13,14. Conventional magnetoresistance in doped semiconductors is straightforwardly explained as the effect of the Lorentz force on the carrier motion15, but the reported unusually large effects imply that the underlying mechanisms have not yet been fully explored. Here we report that a simple device, based on a lightly doped silicon substrate between two metallic contacts, shows a large positive magnetoresistance of more than 1,000 per cent at room temperature (300 K) and 10,000 per cent at 25 K, for magnetic fields between 0 and 3 T. A high electric field is applied to the device, so that conduction is space-charge limited16,17,18. For substrates with a charge carrier density below 1013 cm-3, the magnetoresistance exhibits a linear dependence on the magnetic field between 3 and 9 T. We propose that the observed large magnetoresistance can be explained by quasi-neutrality breaking of the space-charge effect, where insufficient charge is present to compensate the electrons injected into the device. This introduces an electric field inhomogeneity, analogous to the situation in other semiconductors in which a large, non-saturating magnetoresistance was observed1,2,3,4,5,19. In this regime, the motions of electrons become correlated, and thus become dependent on magnetic field. Although large positive magnetoresistance at room temperature has been achieved in metal–semiconductor hybrid devices6,7,8, we have now realized it in a simpler structure and in a way different from other known magnetoresistive effects9,10,11,12,13,14,20. It could be used to develop new magnetic devices from silicon, which may further advance silicon technology.

Your institute does not have access to this article

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Magnetoresistance of the In/n-Si/In device at 25 K.
Figure 2: Magnetoresistance probed by the internal voltage differences.
Figure 3: Large positive magnetoresistance of the intrinsic silicon at 300 K.
Figure 4: Large positive magnetoresistance at high electric field in n-Si and i-Si.

References

  1. Xu, R. et al. Large magnetoresistance in non-magnetic silver chalcogenides. Nature 390, 57–60 (1997)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Husmann, A. et al. Megagauss sensors. Nature 417, 421–424 (2002)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Parish, M. M. & Littlewood, P. B. Non-saturating magnetoresistance in heavily disordered semiconductors. Nature 426, 162–165 (2003)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Parish, M. M. & Littlewood, P. B. Classical magnetotransport of inhomogeneous conductors. Phys. Rev. B 72, 094417 (2005)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Zhang, T. et al. Tuning the inherent magnetoresistance of InSb thin films. Appl. Phys. Lett. 88, 012110 (2006)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Solin, S. A., Thio, T., Hines, D. R. & Heremans, J. J. Enhanced room-temperature geometric magnetoresistance in inhomogeneous narrow-gap semiconductor. Science 289, 1530–1532 (2000)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Moussa, J. et al. Finite-element modelling of extraordinary magnetoresistance in thin film semiconductors with metallic inclusions. Phys. Rev. B 64, 184410 (2001)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Solin, S. A. et al. Nonmagnetic semiconductors as read-head sensors for ultra-high-density magnetic recording. Appl. Phys. Lett. 80, 4012–4014 (2002)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Baibich, M. N. et al. Giant magnetoresistance of Fe(001)/(001) Cr magnetic superlattices. Phys. Rev. Lett. 61, 2472–2475 (1988)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Berkowitz, A. E. et al. Giant magnetoresistance in heterogeneous Cu-Co alloys. Phys. Rev. Lett. 68, 3745–3748 (1992)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Xiao, J. Q., Jiang, J. & Chien, C. L. Giant magnetoresistance in nonmultilayer magnetic systems. Phys. Rev. Lett. 68, 3749–3752 (1992)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Jin, S. et al. Thousandfold change in resistivity in magnetoresistive La-Ca-Mn-O films. Science 264, 413–415 (1994)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Yuasa, S. et al. Giant room-temperature magnetoresistance in single-crystal Fe/MgO/Fe magnetic tunnel junctions. Nature Mater. 3, 868–871 (2004)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Parkin, S. S. P. et al. Giant tunnelling magnetoresistance at room temperature with MgO (100) tunnel barriers. Nature Mater. 3, 862–867 (2004)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Ashcroft, N. W. & Mermin, N. D. Solid State Physics (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976)

    MATH  Google Scholar 

  16. Sze, S. M. & Ng, K. K. Physics of Semiconductor Devices 3rd edn (Wiley, 2007)

    Google Scholar 

  17. Rose, A. Space-charge-limited currents in solids. Phys. Rev. 97, 1538–1544 (1955)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Lampert, M. A. Simplified theory of space-charge-limited currents in an insulator with traps. Phys. Rev. 103, 1648–1656 (1956)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Herring, C. Effect of random inhomogeneities on electrical and galvanomagnetic measurements. J. Appl. Phys. 31, 1939–1953 (1960)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Sun, Z. G., Mizuguchi, M., Manago, T. & Akinaga, H. Magnetic-field-controllable avalanche breakdown and giant magnetoresistive effects in Gold/semi-insulating GaAs Schottky diode. Appl. Phys. Lett. 85, 5643–5645 (2004)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Payling, C. A. et al. Electric field-induced quasi-elastic inter-Landau level scattering in the space-charge-limited magnetoconductivity of n+n-n+ InP structures. Superlatt. Microstruct. 2, 415–419 (1986)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Yafet, Y., Keyes, R. W. & Adams, E. N. Hydrogen atom in a strong magnetic field. J. Phys. Chem. Solids 1, 137–142 (1956)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Sladek, R. J. Magnetically induced impurity banding in n-InSb. J. Phys. Chem. Solids 5, 157–170 (1958)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Shklovskii, B. I. & Efros, A. L. Electronic Properties of Doped Semiconductors (Springer, 1984)

    Book  Google Scholar 

  25. Sampsell, J. B. & Garland, J. C. Current distortion effects and linear magnetoresistance of inclusions in free-electron metals. Phys. Rev. B 13, 583–589 (1976)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Stroud, D. & Pan, F. P. Effect of isolated inhomogeneities on the galvanomagnetic properties of solids. Phys. Rev. B 13, 1434–1438 (1976)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Bergman, D. J. & Stroud, D. G. High-field magnetotransport in composite conductors: Effective medium approximation. Phys. Rev. B 62, 6603–6613 (2000)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Tornow, M., Weiss, D., v, Klitzing, K. & Eberl, K. Anisotropic magnetoresistance of a classical antidot array. Phys. Rev. Lett. 77, 147–150 (1996)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Lampert, M. A. & Rose, A. Volume-controlled, two-carrier currents in solids: The injected plasma case. Phys. Rev. 121, 26–37 (1961)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Schoonus, J. J. H. M., Bloom, F. L., Wagemans, W., Swagten, H. J. M. & Koopmans, B. Extremely large magnetoresistance in boron-doped silicon. Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 127202 (2008)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

We appreciate discussions with T. Shinjo, H. Akinaga, H. Sakakima, Y. Iye, J. Ohe, S. Takahashi and T. Susaki. This work was partly supported by KAKENHI, ICR Grants for Young Scientists, the Asahi Glass Foundation and the Sumitomo Foundation. M.P.D. acknowledges support from JSPS Research Fellowships for Young Scientists.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kensuke Kobayashi.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Figures

This file contains Supplementary Figures S1-S4 with Legends (PDF 618 kb)

PowerPoint slides

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Delmo, M., Yamamoto, S., Kasai, S. et al. Large positive magnetoresistive effect in silicon induced by the space-charge effect. Nature 457, 1112–1115 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature07711

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/nature07711

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing