Ferromagnetism in cobalt-doped titanium dioxide
Lussier, Alexandre Francois
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Semiconductor spintronics is a promising new field of study in the ongoing quest to make electronic devices faster, cheaper, and more efficient. While current spintronics utilizes the spin property of electrons to achieve greater functionality, the integration of spintronics into conventional semiconductor electronics will lead to advances in opto-electronics, quantum computing, and other emerging fields of technology. This integration relies on effective generation, injection, transport, and detection of spin polarized electron currents. To these ends, the successful synthesis of room temperature ferromagnetic semiconductors is mandatory. In this work, we study the properties of cobalt-doped titanium dioxide, a room temperature dilute ferromagnetic semiconductor discovered in 2001. We characterize the Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) of Co-doped TiO2 thin films, including the substrate-induced stabilization of the anatase structure of TiO2. We also confirm the substitutional nature of cobalt on titanium sites by X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy (XAS) techniques. The ferromagnetic interaction mechanism remains controversial. Yet, we provide experimental evidence for the polaron mediated ferromagnetic coupling mechanism recently suggested to mediate ferromagnetic interactions in this, and other magnetically doped oxides, in the dilute regime (approximately 0 to 3%). Our evidence is related to a previously unobserved and unreported XAS spectral feature. Finally, we demonstrate the surprising absence of an X-ray Magnetic Circular Dichroism (XMCD) signature at the cobalt L edge.