Defect-induced magnetism in undoped wide band gap oxides: Zinc vacancies in ZnO as an example

G. Z. Xing, Y. H. Lu, Y. F. Tian, J. B. Yi, C. C. Lim, Y. F. Li, G. P. Li, D. D. Wang, B. Yao, J. Ding, Y. P. Feng, T. Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

181 Scopus citations


To shed light on the mechanism responsible for the weak ferromagnetism in undoped wide band gap oxides, we carry out a comparative study on ZnO thin films prepared using both sol-gel and molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) methods. Compared with the MBE samples, the sol-gel derived samples show much stronger room temperature ferromagnetism with a magnetic signal persisting up to ∼740 K, and this ferromagnetic order coexists with a high density of defects in the form of zinc vacancies. The donor-acceptor pairs associated with the zinc vacancies also cause a characteristic orange-red photoluminescence in the sol-gel films. Furthermore, the strong correlation between the ferromagnetism and the zinc vacancies is confirmed by our first-principles density functional theory calculations, and electronic band alteration as a result of defect engineering is proposed to play the critical role in stabilizing the long-range ferromagnetism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number022152
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was partially supported by the Singapore National Research Foundation. G. Z. Xing acknowledges the financial support of Singapore Millennium Foundation, Singapore.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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