Materials Research Science and Engineering Center


Date of this Version



Published in Physical Review B, 69, 174408 (7 May 2004)
Copyright © 2004 The American Physical Society. Used by permission


We demonstrate that the factorization of the tunneling transmission into the product of two surface transmission functions and a vacuum decay factor allows one to generalize Jullière's formula and explain the meaning of the "tunneling density of states" in some limiting cases. Using this factorization we calculate spin-dependent tunneling from clean and oxidized fcc Co surfaces through vacuum into Al using the principal-layer Green's-function approach. We demonstrate that a monolayer of oxygen on the Co(111) surface creates a spin-filter effect due to the Co-O bonding which produces an additional tunneling barrier in the minority-spin channel. This changes the minority-spin dominated conductance for the clean Co surface into a majority-spin dominated conductance for the oxidized Co surface.