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Self-assembled monolayers reveal their potential for molecular spintronics

(La,Sr)MnO3 manganite (LSMO) has emerged as the standard ferromagnetic electrode in organic spintronic devices due to its high spin-polarization and air stability. Whereas organic semiconductors and polymers have been mainly envisaged to propagate spin information, self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) have been overlooked and should be considered as promising materials for molecular engineering of spintronic devices. In this way dodecyl and octadecyl phosphonic acids SAMs have been grafted over the LSMO half-metallic oxide. Alkylphosphonic acids form ordered self-assembled monolayers with the phosphonic group coordinated to the surface.
Molecular magnetic tunnel junctions using these SAMs as tunnel barriers show stable and efficient spin transport properties. Large tunnel magnetoresistance with a flat bias voltage dependence of the magnetoresistance is observed in LSMO/dodecylphosphonic acid SAM/Co nanocontacts. This opens the door to spintronic tailoring though SAM engineering and could also lead to new venues for spin injection in organic devices.
Marta Galbiati, Clément Barraud et al. ACS Nano (2012)
Sergio Tatay, Clément Barraud et al. Advanced Materials (2012)