CrXTe3 (X = Si, Ge) nanosheets: two dimensional intrinsic ferromagnetic semiconductors†
Two-dimensional (2D) ferromagnetic semiconductors hold a great potential for nano-electronic and spintronic devices. Nevertheless, their experimental realization remains a big challenge. Through first-principles calculations, we here demonstrate the possibility of realizing 2D ferromagnetic semiconductors simply by exfoliating layered crystals of CrXTe3 (X = Si, Ge). The exfoliation of CrXTe3 is feasible due to its small cleavage energy, and CrXTe3 nanosheets can form free-standing membranes. Interestingly, upon exfoliation, the ferromagnetism and semiconducting character are well preserved from bulk to the nanosheet form. Long-range ferromagnetic order with a magnetization of 3 μB per Cr atom is confirmed in 2D CrXTe3 from classical Heisenberg model Monte Carlo simulations. Both bulk and 2D CrXTe3 are indirect-gap semiconductors with their valence and conduction bands fully spin-polarized in the same direction, which is promising for spin-polarized carrier injection and detection. We further demonstrate the tunability and enrichment of the properties of CrXTe3 nanosheets via external operations. Under moderate tensile strain, the 2D ferromagnetism can be largely enhanced. By pure electron doping or adsorbing nucleophilic molecules, CrXTe3 nanosheets become 2D half metals.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2014 Journal of Materials Chemistry C Hot Articles