ZnSe and ZnTe as tunnel barriers for Fe-based spin valves

Gokaran Shukla, H. M. Abdullah, Avijeet Ray, Shubham Tyagi, Aurelien Manchon, Stefano Sanvito, Udo Schwingenschlögl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Owing to their use in the optoelectronic industry, we investigate whether ZnSe and ZnTe can be utilised as tunnel barrier materials in magnetic spin valves. We perform ab initio electronic structure and linear response transport calculations based on self-interaction-corrected density functional theory for both Fe/ZnSe/Fe and Fe/ZnTe/Fe junctions. In the Fe/ZnSe/Fe junction the transport is tunneling-like and a symmetry-filtering mechanism is at play, implying that only the majority spin electrons with Δ1 symmetry are transmitted with large probability, resulting in a potentially large tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR) ratio. As such, the transport characteristics are similar to those of the Fe/MgO/Fe junction, although the TMR ratio is lower for tunnel barriers of similar thickness due to the smaller bandgap of ZnSe as compared to that of MgO. In the Fe/ZnTe/Fe junction the Fermi level is pinned at the bottom of the conduction band of ZnTe and only a giant magnetoresistance effect is found. Our results provide evidence that chalcogenide-based tunnel barriers can be utilised in spintronics devices.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPhysical chemistry chemical physics : PCCP
StatePublished - May 3 2023

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-05-05
Acknowledgements: The research reported in this publication was supported by funding from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. SS thanks the Irish Research Council for financial support through the Advanced Laureate Award (IRCLA/2019/127).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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