Carrier-Controlled Ferromagnetism in Transparent Oxide Semiconductors

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The search for an ideal magnetic semiconductor with tunable ferromagnetic behaviour over a wide range of doping or by electrical gating is being actively pursued as a major step towards realizing spin electronics. A magnetic semiconductor having a high Curie temperature, capable of independently controlled carrier density and magnetic doping, is crucial for developing spin-based multifunctional devices. Cr-doped In2O3 is such a unique system, where the electrical and magnetic behaviour—from ferromagnetic metal-like to ferromagnetic semiconducting to paramagnetic insulator—can be controllably tuned by the defect concentration. An explicit dependence of magnetic interaction leading to ferromagnetism on the carrier density is shown. A carrier-density-dependent high Curie temperature of 850–930 K has been measured, in addition to the observation of clear magnetic domain structures in these films. Being optically transparent with the above optimal properties, Cr-doped In2O3 emerges as a viable candidate for the development of spin electronics.