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Influence of the microstructure on the magnetism of Co-doped ZnO thin films

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3 Author(s)
Fouchet, A. ; Laboratoire CRISMAT, CNRS UMR 6508, ENSICAEN, 6 Boulevard du Maréchal Juin, F-14050 Caen, France ; Prellier, W. ; Mercey, B.

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The prediction of ferromagnetism at room temperature in Co–ZnO thin films has generated a large interest in the community due to the possible applications. However, the results are controversial, going from ferromagnetism to nonferromagnetism, leading to a large debate about its origin (secondary phase, Co clusters or not). By carefully studying the microstructure of various Co–ZnO films, we show that the Co2+ partly substitutes the ZnO wurtzite matrix without forming Co clusters. Surprisingly, the ferromagnetism nature of the films disappears as the Co content increases. In addition, our results suggest that the observed ferromagnetism is likely associated to a large amount of defects—close to the interface and strongly depending on the growth temperature—which may explain the spreading of the results.

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:100 ,  Issue: 1 )