Tunneling Potential Barrier Dependence of Electron Spin Polarization

Scanning tunneling microscopy experiments reveal that the degree of spin polarization of electrons tunneling from Ni into a semiconductor increases with decreasing potential barrier thickness. The results show that the highly polarized $3d$ bands as well as the low-polarized $4sp$ bands contribute to the tunneling current and that the ratio of their tunneling probabilities depends on the potential barrier thickness and height. Furthermore, the tunneling potential barrier for the $3d$-like levels is estimated to be $\sim$1~eV higher than for the $4sp$ contribution.

By: S. F. Alvarado

Published in: Physical Review Letters, volume 75, (no 3), pages 513-16 in 1995

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