The archetype of half-metallic magnetism, NiMnSb, has been reported to show an anomaly at low temperature. The high degree of spin polarization of the conduction electrons, characteristic of a half metal, is lost above this temperature. Recently reported experiments show that this anomaly is not an intrinsic property of NiMnSb: it requires an excess of (interstitial) manganese. Electronic structure calculations reported here show that the excess manganese orders antiferromagnetically with respect to the host magnetization, reduces the half-metallic band gap, and pushes the top of the valence band up to 36 meV below the Fermi level. Thermal excitations from minority to majority spin channel induce an avalanche effect, leading to the disordering of the magnetic moments of the excess manganese. This mechanism is supported by measurements of the magnetization as a function of temperature on NiMn1.05Sb: It shows a maximum in the magnetization measured in a field of 400 Oe.
|Journal||Physical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics|
|Publication status||Published - 18 Jul 2013|