Long-range pd exchange interaction in a ferromagnet–semiconductor hybrid structure


Hybrid structures synthesized from different materials have attracted considerable attention because they may allow not only combination of the functionalities of the individual constituents but also mutual control of their properties. To obtain such a control an interaction between the components needs to be established. For coupling the magnetic properties, an exchange interaction has to be implemented which typically depends on wavefunction overlap and is therefore short-ranged, so that it may be compromised across the hybrid interface. Here we study a hybrid structure consisting of a ferromagnetic Co layer and a semiconducting CdTe quantum well, separated by a thin (Cd, Mg)Te barrier. In contrast to the expected pd exchange that decreases exponentially with the wavefunction overlap of quantum well holes and magnetic atoms, we find a long-ranged, robust coupling that does not vary with barrier width up to more than 30 nm. We suggest that the resulting spin polarization of acceptor-bound holes is induced by an effective pd exchange that is mediated by elliptically polarized phonons.

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Figure 1: Ferromagnet-induced proximity effect.
Figure 2: Time-resolved spin dynamics.
Figure 3: Ferromagnet-induced spin polarization of the QW heavy holes bound to acceptors.
Figure 4: Effective pd exchange interaction between FM and QW heavy holes.
Figure 5: Illustration of circularly polarized phonon mode in the FM–QW hybrid structure.


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The authors thank B. Glavin and A. Scherbakov for discussions. We acknowledge support by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and Russian Foundation for Basic Research in the frame of the ICRC TRR 160, the Government of Russia via project N14.Z50.31.0021, and the Program of Russian Academy of Sciences. V.L.K. acknowledges support of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft within the Gerhard Mercator professorship programme. The work in Poland was partially supported by the Polish National Science Center under grant numbers DEC-2012/06/A/ST3/00247 and DEC-2014/14/M/ST3/00484. T.W. also acknowledges support from the Foundation for Polish Science through the International Outgoing Scholarship 2014.

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V.L.K., M.S., I.A.A., V.F.S., L.L., I.V.K., J.D., R.I.D. and D.M. performed the experiments and analysed the data. V.L.K. developed the theoretical model. C.S. and H.H. performed AFM measurements. G.K., M.W. and T.W. fabricated the samples. V.L.K., I.A.A., D.R.Y., Yu.G.K, and M.B. co-wrote the paper. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to V. L. Korenev or I. A. Akimov.

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Korenev, V., Salewski, M., Akimov, I. et al. Long-range pd exchange interaction in a ferromagnet–semiconductor hybrid structure. Nature Phys 12, 85–91 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys3497

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