The source of room temperature ferromagnetism in granular GaMnAs layers with zinc blende clusters



Granular GaAs:(Mn,Ga)As films were prepared by annealing the Ga0.985Mn0.015As/GaAs layers at 500 °C or 600 °C. It is commonly accepted that this processing should result in the formation of cubic or hexagonal MnAs clusters, respectively. We demonstrate that such a priori assumption is not justified. If in the as grown sample there are not many defects with the interstitial Mn atoms, only small cubic clusters can be formed even after annealing at 600 °C. Moreover, in a sample containing solely cubic GaMnAs clusters, the Mn ions are ferromagnetically coupled at room temperature. This fact was explained by the existence of GaMnAs solid solution in the clusters, with content of Mn close to 20% (higher than ever found in the layers) as was confirmed by experiment and theory. Extended X-ray absorption spectroscopy studies excluded the possibility of formation of the hypothetic zinc blende MnAs clusters. Not more than one Mn atom was detected in the second shell around central Mn atom. (© 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)