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Unraveling the nature of carrier-mediated ferromagnetism in diluted magnetic semiconductors

Abstract : After more than a decade of intensive research in the field of diluted magnetic semiconductors (DMS), the nature and origin of ferromagnetism, especially in III–V compounds, is still controversial. Many questions and open issues are under intensive debates. Why after so many years of investigations, Mn-doped GaAs remains the candidate with the highest Curie temperature among the broad family of III–V materials doped with transition metal (TM) impurities? How can one understand that these temperatures are almost two orders of magnitude larger than that of hole-doped (Zn,Mn)Te or (Cd,Mn)Se? Is there any intrinsic limitation or is there any hope to reach room-temperature ferromagnetism in the dilute regime? How can one explain the proximity of (Ga,Mn)As to the metal–insulator transition and the change from Ruderman–Kittel–Kasuya–Yosida (RKKY) couplings in II–VI compounds to double-exchange type in (Ga,Mn)N? In spite of the great success of density functional theory-based studies to provide accurately the critical temperatures in various compounds, till very lately a theory that provides a coherent picture and understanding of the underlying physics was still missing. Recently, within a minimal model, it has been possible to show that among the physical parameters, the key one is the position of the TM acceptor level. By tuning the value of that parameter, one is able to explain quantitatively both magnetic and transport properties in a broad family of DMS. We will see that this minimal model explains in particular the RKKY nature of the exchange in (Zn,Mn)Te/(Cd,Mn)Te and the double exchange type in (Ga,Mn)N and simultaneously the reason why (Ga,Mn)As exhibits the highest critical temperature among both II–VI and III–V DMS's.
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Georges Bouzerar, Richard Bouzerar. Unraveling the nature of carrier-mediated ferromagnetism in diluted magnetic semiconductors. Comptes Rendus Physique, Centre Mersenne, 2015, 16 (8), pp.731-738. ⟨10.1016/j.crhy.2015.09.003⟩. ⟨hal-02308167⟩