Realization of spin gapless semiconductors: the Heusler compound Mn2CoAl

Phys Rev Lett. 2013 Mar 8;110(10):100401. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.100401. Epub 2013 Mar 5.


Recent studies have reported an interesting class of semiconductor materials that bridge the gap between semiconductors and half-metallic ferromagnets. These materials, called spin gapless semiconductors, exhibit a band gap in one of the spin channels and a zero band gap in the other and thus allow for tunable spin transport. Here, we report the first experimental verification of the spin gapless magnetic semiconductor Mn(2)CoAl, an inverse Heusler compound with a Curie temperature of 720 K and a magnetic moment of 2 μ(B). Below 300 K, the compound exhibits nearly temperature-independent conductivity, very low, temperature-independent carrier concentration, and a vanishing Seebeck coefficient. The anomalous Hall effect is comparatively low, which is explained by the symmetry properties of the Berry curvature. Mn(2) CoAl is not only suitable material for room temperature semiconductor spintronics, the robust spin polarization of the spin gapless semiconductors makes it very promising material for spintronics in general.