Ballistic Spin Transport

Authored by: Bernard Doudin , N.T. Kemp

Handbook of Spin Transport and Magnetism

Print publication date:  August  2011
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9781439803776
eBook ISBN: 9781439803783
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter is dedicated to the study of ballistic transport in magnetic nanostructures. Ballistic means that the charges carrying the electric current go through the sample without experiencing scattering. This condition requires that sample dimensions are smaller than the carriers mean free path. This concept is therefore in immediate contrast with the diffusive transport model, extensively used to explain giant magnetoresistance (GMR) properties. The spin-dependent resistivities of the ferromagnetic layers and the interfaces largely determine the GMR properties; however, for a diminishing sample size this is not solely the case. An example of transport occurring essentially without scattering is the tunnel regime, where the conduction of the system is ensured by evanescent waves through a dielectric barrier. The related tunnel magnetoresistance (TMR) is described in details in Chapter 9, but let us recall that it relies on a spin-dependent density of states in the ferromagnetic layers (more precisely at the interface), as well as the transmission properties of the barrier.

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