First-principles study of a vertical spin switch in atomic scale two-dimensional platform

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Department of Physics


High in-plane charge carrier mobility and long spin diffusion length makes graphene a unique material for spin-based devices. However, in a vertical graphene junction, the 2pz orbitals of carbon atoms in graphene can be tuned via suitable magnetic substrates; this would affect the spin injection into graphene. Here, a vertical spin switch has been designed by embedding a single layer of graphene as a tunnel layer between the Ni (1 1 1) substrate. Periodic density functional approach in conjunction with Julliere’s model is used to calculate the tunnel magnetoresistance (TMR). Further, single-layered hexagonal Boron Nitride (h-BN) is sandwiched between the graphene and Ni (1 1 1) substrate to understand the role of hybridization at the interface on TMR. Our calculation shows that in contrast to the graphene junction, a much higher TMR value is obtainable in the case of the graphene/h-BN multi-tunnel junction (MTJ). The TMR in graphene junction is found to decrease with the increase of an externally applied electric field, and drops to zero for a field greater than equal to 0.16 V/Å. Similar phenomenon was observed in the case of h-BN/graphene MTJ, where TMR value remains unchanged for electric field up to 0.1 V/Å beyond which it drops to zero. The change in hybridization and charge-carrier-population at the interface modifies the magnetic exchange interaction and magnetic anisotropy resulting in a spin flip at interface, leads to rapid drop in TMR after a threshold electric field. The high and tunable TMR value suggests h-BN assisted high performance graphene based vertical spin switch.

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© 2019 Published by Elsevier B.V. Publisher's version of record:

Publication Title

Journal of Magnetism and MAgenetic Materials