Theory of ferromagnetic (iii,mn)v semiconductors
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The body of research on (III,Mn)V diluted magnetic semiconductors (DMSs) initiated during the 1990s has concentrated on three major fronts: (i) the microscopic origins and fundamental physics of the ferromagnetism that occurs in these systems, (ii) the materials science of growth and defects, and (iii) the development of spintronic devices with new functionalities. This article reviews the current status of the field, concentrating on the first two, more mature research directions. From the fundamental point of view, (Ga,Mn)As and several other (III,Mn)V DMSs are now regarded as textbook examples of a rare class of robust ferromagnets with dilute magnetic moments coupled by delocalized charge carriers. Both local moments and itinerant holes are provided by Mn, which makes the systems particularly favorable for realizing this unusual ordered state. Advances in growth and postgrowth-treatment techniques have played a central role in the field, often pushing the limits of dilute Mn-moment densities and the uniformity and purity of materials far beyond those allowed by equilibrium thermodynamics. In (III,Mn)V compounds, material quality and magnetic properties are intimately connected. This review focuses on the theoretical understanding of the origins of ferromagnetism and basic structural, magnetic, magnetotransport, and magneto-optical characteristics of simple (III,Mn)V epilayers, with the main emphasis on (Ga,Mn)As. Conclusions are arrived at based on an extensive literature covering results of complementary ab initio and effective Hamiltonian computational techniques, and on comparisons between theory and experiment. The applicability of ferromagnetic semiconductors in microelectronic technologies requires increasing Curie temperatures from the current record of 173 K in (Ga,Mn)As epilayers to above room temperature. The issue of whether or not this is a realistic expectation for (III,Mn)V DMSs is a central question in the field and motivates many of the analyses presented in this review.