Band structure of the EuO/Si interface: justification for silicon spintronics†
Semiconductor spintronics provides a framework for hybrid devices combining logic, communication and storage, circumventing limitations of the current electronics, especially with respect to the energy efficiency. Enormous efforts have been invested worldwide into the development of spintronics based on Si, the mainstream semiconductor platform. Notwithstanding remarkable pace, Si spintronics still experiences a technological bottleneck – creation of significant spin polarization in nonmagnetic Si. An emerging approach based on direct electrical spin injection from a ferromagnetic semiconductor – EuO being the prime choice – avoids problems inherent to metallic injectors. The functionality of the EuO/Si spin contact is controlled by the interface band alignment. To be competitive with charge electronics, the EuO/Si interface should exhibit a band offset which falls within the 0.5–2 eV range. We employ a soft-X-ray ARPES technique, using synchrotron radiation with photon energies around 1 keV, to probe the electronic structure of the buried EuO/Si interface with momentum resolution and chemical specificity. The band structure reveals a conduction band offset of 1.0 eV attesting the technological potential of the EuO/Si system.