Fabrication and characterisation of novel materials and devices for spintronics

  • Jack Warren

Student thesis: Phd


The spintronic materials graphene and FeRh are of great scientific and technological interest due to their unique properties. Graphene's remarkable electronic transport and low spin interaction suggest it could be a near-perfect spin-transport material, while the equiatomic alloy FeRh undergoes a first-order antiferromagnetic (AF) to ferromagnetic (FM) phase transition when heated through a critical temperature ~370 K. Combining these materials could lead to a single multifunctional spin injection, transport and detection device in which a range of stimuli - heat, magnetic field, strain etc. - could be used to manipulate the device state. However, realisation of such a multifunctional device is extremely challenging. This thesis describes the progress made in developing a novel method of spin injection into graphene, and details a study of the metamagnetic phase transition in FeRh nanowires suitable for use as spin injection and detection electrodes. The measured values of spin lifetime and spin diffusion length in graphene are an order of magnitude lower than those predicted theoretically. In this project, a novel 1D contact geometry was investigated to determine whether the dwelling of spins underneath tunnel barrier contacts was the cause of the discrepancy. Although these devices exhibited very high charge carrier mobility - indicating successful device fabrication, defect-free graphene flakes and low levels of contamination - no spin signals were observed. Through a thorough investigation of this unexpected result it was determined that the quality of the graphene/- ferromagnetic interface was limiting the polarisation of injected spin current. The use of FeRh as a novel spin injection and detection material was investigated through magnetic force microscopy imaging of the AF and FM phases during heating and cooling sweeps. The results from FeRh full-films showed a strong dependence on surface morphology, as certain surface types were observed to favour the FM phase. These behaviours were confirmed in patterned nanowire devices, which indicated that the dependence on surface topology dominated over spatial confinement effects. In order to perform these studies a magneto-transport measurement system capable of performing measurements over a wide temperature range 2 K - 500 K in a rotatable magnetic field of up to 750 mT was developed. The noise base of the completed system was measured at just 10% above the theoretical minimum level.
Date of Award1 Aug 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorErnest Hill (Supervisor) & Thomas Thomson (Supervisor)


  • Spin injection
  • 1D contact
  • MFM
  • Graphene
  • Spintronics
  • FeRh

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