Ferromagnetic Europium Sulfide Thin Films: Influence of Precursors on Magneto-Optical Properties

Beer, S.M.J. and Muriqi, A. and Lindner, P. and Winter, M. and Rogalla, D. and Nolan, M. and Ney, A. and Debus, J. and Devi, A.

Volume: 34 Pages: 152-164
DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.1c02958
Published: 2022

Europium sulfide (EuS) thin films are appealing as ferromagnetic semiconductors and luminescent and optomagnetic materials owing to their unique functional properties. With the emerging field of spintronics and magneto-optical devices, chemical vapor deposition (CVD) offers a versatile platform to tune the material properties and the method to fabricate device structures needed for such applications. Herein, we report the growth of high-quality cubic EuS via a versatile CVD process where the new Eu(III) precursors employed facilitate the formation of the target EuS layers under moderated process conditions. Based on the prior evaluation of the physicochemical properties of these precursors using thermal analysis and density functional theory studies, adequate volatility, thermal stability, and sufficient reactivity toward potential co-reactants, namely, elemental sulfur, could be inferred. Thus, the use of toxic hydrogen sulfide generally needed for sulfide film depositions could be avoided, which is a significant advantage in terms of simplifying the deposition process. The as-deposited thin films were analyzed in terms of the structure, composition, and morphology, revealing highly oriented polycrystalline and stoichiometric EuS films. UV/vis measurements yielded a band gap of around 1.6 eV, and Raman spectroscopy exhibited a coupling between the phonons and electron spin systems of EuS. These findings, together with the soft ferromagnetic character of the films derived from semiconducting quantum interference device measurements, signify the potential of CVD-grown EuS for future technological applications. © 2021 American Chemical Society.

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