Defect-induced ferromagnetism in SiC

by Yutian Wang

Institution: Technische Universität Dresden
Department: Fakultät Mathematik und Naturwissenschaften
Degree: PhD
Year: 2015
Record ID: 1104321
Full text PDF: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:bsz:14-qucosa-164623


Defect-induced ferromagnetism is attracting intensive research interest. It not only challenges the traditional opinions about ferromagnetism, but also has some potential applications in spin-electronics. SiC is a new candidate for the investigation of defect-induced ferromagnetism after graphitic materials and oxides due to its high material purity and crystalline quality. In this thesis, we made a comprehensive investigation on the structural and magnetic properties of ion implanted and neutron irradiated SiC sample. In combination with X-ray absorption spectroscopy and first-principles calculations, we try to understand the mechanism in a microscopic picture. For neon or xenon ion implanted SiC, we identify a multi-magnetic-phase nature. The magnetization of SiC can be decomposed into paramagnetic, superparamagnetic and ferromagnetic contributions. The ferromagnetic contribution persists well above room temperature and exhibits a pronounced magnetic anisotropy. We qualitatively explain the magnetic properties as a result of the intrinsic clustering tendency of defects. By combining X-ray magnetic circular dichroism and first-principles calculations, we clarify that p electrons of the nearest-neighbor carbon atoms around divacancies are mainly responsible for the long-range ferromagnetic coupling. Thus, we provide a direct correlation between the collective magnetic phenomena and the specific electrons/orbitals. With the aim to verify if the defect-induced magnetization can be increased by orders of magnitude, i.e., if a sample containing defects through its bulk volume can persist ferromagnetic coupling, we applied neutron irradiation to introduce defects into SiC. Besides a weak ferromagnetic contribution, we observe a strong paramagnetism, scaling up with the neutron fluence. The ferromagnetic contribution induced by neutron irradiation only occurs in a narrow fluence window or after annealing. It seems non-realistic to make the bulk specimens ferromagnetic by introducing defects. Instead, we speculate that defect-induced ferromagnetism rather locally appears in particular regions, like surface/interface/grain boundaries. A comparable investigation on neutron irradiated graphite supports the same conclusion.