Licentiate seminar: Intricacy and stability of graphene spintronic devices

  • Date:
  • Location: Ångströmlaboratoriet, Lägerhyddsvägen 1 101121 and Zoom:
  • Lecturer: Daria Belotcerkovtceva
  • Contact person: Daria Belotcerkovtceva
  • Licentiatseminarium

The opponent is Samuel Avila Lara from the Chalmers University of Technology.


Graphene, the first experimentally isolated atomically thin crystal has displayed numerous superlative properties for quantum and spin-based electronics, as evidenced by research results of more than a decade. The scalable form of graphene, produced by the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method has been increasingly attracting scientific and technological interest, as outstanding properties are combined with large scalability and high quality. The high-performance devices based on large-scale polycrystalline graphene growth capabilities with efficient charge and spin transport make it prospective for practical implementation into future spintronic and quantum integrated circuits. While CVD graphene presents unlimited prospects for exploring spin currents, there exist challenges along the way in terms of scalability of efficient performance, and reliability. Deformations, wrinkles, and structural (electronic) modifications caused at the interfaces with contacts remain key concerns for device performance. In particular, oxide-based interfaces with graphene are central to both graphenes electronic and spintronic devices. For high-performance scalable devices, it is of crucial significance to understand the details of these interfaces and how devices of CVD graphene with polycrystallinity respond to high current limits. In this thesis, we discuss a systematic study of the effect of e-beam evaporated ultra-thin titanium oxide (TiOx) and aluminum oxide (AlOx) on graphene; which are conventionally used as tunnel barriers in spintronic and nanoelectronics devices. Characteristic topographic features of both metal oxides on the graphene surface were revealed by atomic force microscopy. To estimate the impact of these oxides on graphene, electrical measurements were performed on graphene spin devices with and without metal oxides on the same devices. These measurements show significant p-type doping for both metal oxides, with sustained sheet conductance (σ0) and mobility (µ) values. Strikingly, Raman spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy show the emergence of significant sp3 carbon for AlOx on graphene, in sharp contrast to TiOx. Our results and observations, together with theoretical calculations provide new insights into how sp3 carbon for AlOx can lead to new memristive mechanisms and explicate enhanced spin relaxation into graphene with AlOx devices, which was widely attributed to the presence of interface pinholes. Here we also investigate how CVD graphene-based devices respond to high current stress to understand their stability and robustness. Despite the grainy and wrinkled structure, we observed the highest till-date current density of 5.2 × 108 A/cm2, remarkably higher than previously reported values for multilayer graphene and graphene nanoribbons. The recorded reversible regime (~108 A/cm2) for device operation allows reliable spin transport measurements with an observable spin signal up at such high current density. Furthermore, our investigation also encompasses cyclical current-voltage electrical measurement, to unveil the stability of graphene/ultra-thin oxide interfaces in graphene devices. Overall, these results present significance for CVD graphene device engineering for nanoelectronics and spintronics.

Keywords: chemical vapor deposited (CVD) graphene, graphene electronics, graphene spintronics, charge transfer, high current density