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A half-metal is any substance that acts as a conductor to electrons of one spin orientation, but as an insulator or semiconductor to those of the opposite orientation. Although all half-metals are ferromagnetic (or ferrimagnetic), most ferromagnets are not half-metals. Many of the known examples of half-metals are oxides, sulfides, or Heusler alloys.[1]

In half-metals, the valence band for one spin orientation is partially filled while there is a gap in the density of states for the other spin orientation. This results in conducting behavior for only electrons in the first spin orientation. In some half-metals, the majority spin channel is the conducting one while in others the minority channel is.

The electronic structure of a half-metal. $$E_{f}$$ is the fermi level, $${\displaystyle N(E)}$$ is the density of states for spin down (on the left) and spin up (on the right). In this case, the half-metal is conducting in the minority spin channel.

Half-metals were first described in 1983, as an explanation for the electrical properties of Mn-based Heusler alloys.[2]

Some notable half-metals are chromium(IV) oxide, magnetite, and lanthanum strontium manganite (LSMO),[1] as well as chromium arsenide. Half-metals have attracted some interest for their potential use in spintronics.[3]

References

Coey, J.M.D.; Venkatesan, M. (2002). "Half-metallic ferromagnetism: Example of CrO2". Journal of Applied Physics. 91 (10): 8345–50. Bibcode:2002JAP....91.8345C. doi:10.1063/1.1447879.
de Groot, R. A.; Mueller, F. M.; Engen, P. G. van; Buschow, K. H. J. (20 June 1983). "New Class of Materials: Half-Metallic Ferromagnets" (PDF). Physical Review Letters. 50 (25): 2024–2027. Bibcode:1983PhRvL..50.2024D. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.50.2024.

Rostami, M.; Afshari, M.; Moradi, M. (October 2013). "Bulk and surface half-metallicity of CsS in CsCl structure: A density functional theory study". Journal of Alloys and Compounds. 575: 301–308. doi:10.1016/j.jallcom.2013.05.171.

Guezlane, M; Baaziz, H; El Haj Hassan, F; Charifi, Z; Djaballah, Y (2016). "Electronic, magnetic and thermal properties of Co2CrxFe1−xX (X=Al, Si) Heusler alloys: First-principles calculations". Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials. 414: 219–26. Bibcode:2016JMMM..414..219G. doi:10.1016/j.jmmm.2016.04.056.
Son, Young-Woo; Cohen, Marvin L; Louie, Steven G (2006). "Half-metallic graphene nanoribbons". Nature. 444 (7117): 347–9. arXiv:cond-mat/0611600. Bibcode:2006Natur.444..347S. doi:10.1038/nature05180. PMID 17108960.