We report a class of amorphous thin film material comprising of transition (Fe) and Lanthanide metals (Dy and Tb) that show unique combination of functional properties. Films were deposited with different atomic weight ratio (R) of Fe to Lanthanide (Dy + Tb) using electron beam co-evaporation at room temperature. The films were found to be amorphous, with grazing incidence x-ray diffraction and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy studies indicating that the films were largely oxidized with a majority of the metal being in higher oxidation states. Films with R = 0.6 were semiconducting with visible light transmission due to a direct optical band-gap (2.49 eV), had low resistivity and sheet resistance (7.15 × 10−4 Ω-cm and ~200 Ω/sq respectively), and showed room temperature ferromagnetism. A metal to semiconductor transition with composition (for R < 11.9) also correlated well with the absence of any metallic Fe0oxidation state in the R = 0.6 case as well as a significantly higher fraction of oxidized Dy. The combination of amorphous microstructure and room temperature electronic and magnetic properties could lead to the use of the material in multiple applications, including as a transparent conductor, active material in thin film transistors for display devices, and in spin-dependent electronics.
Taz, H. et al. Transparent ferromagnetic and semiconducting behavior in Fe-Dy-Tb based amorphous oxide films. Scientific Reports 6, 27869; doi: 10.1038/srep27869 (2016).