Date of this Version
AIP Advances 7, 056402 (2017)
Recent discovery of a new class of materials, spin-gapless semiconductors (SGS), has attracted considerable attention in the last few years, primarily due to potential applications in the emerging field of spin-based electronics (spintronics). Here, we investigate structural, electronic, and magnetic properties of one potential SGS compound, MnCr-VAl, using various experimental and theoretical techniques. Our calculations show that this material exhibits ≈ 0.5 eV band gap for the majority-spin states, while for the minority-spin it is nearly gapless. The calculated magnetic moment for the com- pletely ordered structure is 2.9 μB/f.u., which is different from our experimentally measured value of almost zero. This discrepancy is explained by the structural disorder. In particular, A2 type disorder, where Mn or Cr atoms exchange their positions with Al atoms, results in induced antiferromagnetic exchange coupling, which, at a certain level of disorder, effectively reduces the total magnetic moment to zero. This is consistent with our x-ray diffraction measurements which indicate the presence of A2 disorder in all of our samples. In addition, we also show that B2 disorder does not result in antiferromagnetic exchange coupling and therefore does not significantly reduce the total magnetic moment.