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Materials Development and Spin Transport Study of Magnetic Insulator Based Heterostructures


The subfield of magnetic insulator (MI) based spintronics is playing a substantial role in modern solid state physics research. Spin current in the MI is propagated in spin wave with a much longer decay length than spin-polarized carriers in conducting ferromagnet. In the MI-based hetereostructures, the adjacent non-magnetic materials can be magnetized in proximity of MI. Therefore, it is a promising system to study exotic transport phenomena such as quantum Anomalous Hall effect in topological insulator and graphene. Rare-earth Iron garnet (ReIG), a class of magnetic insulators with large electronic bandgap and high Curie temperature, stands out among various magnetic insulator materials and have attracted a great deal of attention in recent magnetic insulator based spintronics research.

The first chapter of this dissertation gives a brief introduction to the spintronics research by introducing some essential concepts in the spintronics field and the most recent spin transport phenomena.

The second chapter of this dissertation summarizes my work in the materials development of ReIG ferrimagnetic insulators, including exquisite control of high quality ultra-flat yttrium iron garnet (YIG) thin films with extremely low magnetic damping and engineering of strain induced robust perpendicular magnetic anisotropy in thulium iron garnet (TIG) and Bi-doped YIG films.

The last chapter of this dissertation shows a systematic study in various ReIG based heterostructures, mainly divided into groups: ReIG (YIG & TIG)/heavy metal bilayers (Pd & Pt) and ReIG (YIG & TIG)/Dirac systems (graphene & topological insulator). The magneto-transport study disentangles the contribution from a spin current origin and proximity induced magnetism. Furthermore, the demonstration in the proximity coupling induced high-temperature ferromagnetic phase in low-dimensional Dirac systems, i.e. graphene and topological insulator surface states, provides new possibilities in the future spintronics applications. The modulation on the spin dynamics of magnetic insulator layer by topological insulator surface states is investigated at last, further confirming the superb properties of such magnetic insulator based spintronics systems.

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