Nanoelectronics – theory and simulation


D. G. de Oteyza and T. Frederiksen
Carbon-based nanostructures as a versatile platform for tunable π-magnetism (Topical Review)
J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 34, 443001 (2022) [ PDF ] [DOI] [arXiv:2206.12981] [HTML5]

Emergence of π-magnetism in open-shell nanographenes has been theoretically predicted decades ago but their experimental characterization was elusive due to the strong chemical reactivity that makes their synthesis and stabilization difficult. In recent years, on-surface synthesis under vacuum conditions has provided unprecedented opportunities for atomically precise engineering of nanographenes, which in combination with scanning probe techniques have led to a substantial progress in our capabilities to realize localized electron spin states and to control electron spin interactions at the atomic scale. Here we review the essential concepts and the remarkable advances in the last few years, and outline the versatility of carbon-based π-magnetic materials as an interesting platform for applications in spintronics and quantum technologies.

S. Sanz, N. Papior, G. Giedke, D. Sánchez-Portal, M. Brandbyge, and T. Frederiksen
Spin-polarizing electron beam splitter from crossed graphene nanoribbons
Phys. Rev. Lett. 129, 037701 (2022) [ PDF ] [DOI] [arXiv:2201.07147] [HTML5]

Junctions composed of two crossed graphene nanoribbons (GNRs) have been theoretically proposed as electron beam splitters where incoming electron waves in one GNR can be split coherently into propagating waves in two outgoing terminals with nearly equal amplitude and zero back-scattering. Here we scrutinize this effect for devices composed of narrow zigzag GNRs taking explicitly into account the role of Coulomb repulsion that leads to spin-polarized edge states within mean-field theory. We show that the beam-splitting effect survives the opening of the well-known correlation gap and, more strikingly, that a spin-dependent scattering potential emerges which spin-polarizes the transmitted electrons in the two outputs. A near-perfect polarization can be achieved by joining several junctions in series. Our findings suggest that GNRs are interesting building blocks in spintronics and quantum technologies with applications for interferometry and entanglement.

T. Wang, S. Sanz, J. Castro-Esteban, J. Lawrence, A. Berdonces-Layunta, M. S. G. Mohammed, M. Vilas-Varela, M. Corso, D. Peña, T. Frederiksen, and D. G. de Oteyza
Magnetic interactions between radical pairs in chiral graphene nanoribbons
Nano Lett. 22, 164-171 (2022) [ PDF ] [arXiv:2108.13473]

Magnetic graphene nanoribbons (GNRs) have become promising candidates for future applications, including quantum technologies. Here, we characterize magnetic states hosted by chiral graphene nanoribbons (chGNRs). The substitution of a hydrogen atom at the chGNR edge by a ketone group effectively adds one pz electron to the π-electron network, thus producing an unpaired π radical. A closely related scenario occurs for regular ketone-functionalized chGNRs in which one oxygen atom is missing. Two such radical states can interact via exchange coupling and we study those interactions as a function of their relative position, which includes a remarkable dependence on the chirality, as well as on the nature of the surrounding GNR, i.e., with or without ketone functionalization. In addition, we determine the parameters whereby this type of systems with oxygen heteroatoms can be adequately described within the widely used mean-field Hubbard model. Altogether, we provide new insights to both theoretically model and devise GNR-based nanostructures with tunable magnetic properties.