Spin dependent thermoelectric effects in magnetic nanostructures

The aim of this thesis work was to obtain a deeper understanding of spin-dependent transport by the study of mixed effects of heat and charge currents in magnetic nanostructures. Indeed, even thermodynamics establish a relationship between both currents, no previous works were performed in this sense up to now. In order to do this, an original experimental setup was developed which allows to carry out a novel transport measurement called the thermogalvanic voltage (TGV). It measures the AC voltage response of the sample driven by an oscillatory variation of the temperature induced by a chopped laser beam focused on the nanostructure under a direct current flow. The main advantage of this new experimental setup is that it can be used to perform three different transport measurements: resistance, thermoelectrical power and TGV measurements. Furthermore, the well-defined junctions of our magnetic nanowires, in addition to the lock-in detection of signals, allows to obtain a better quality of thermoelectrical measurements than those observed by other groups. Different kind of magnetic nanowires like ferromagnetic/non-magnetic multilayers and ferromagnetic homogeneous nanowires were studied by these three different transport measurements. All these nanowires were 6μm in length and 50nm in diameter. All TGV measurements reveal a linear dependence with currents. This behaviour can be interpreted in terms of adiabatic conductivity for homogeneous nanowires and in terms of Peltier effect for multilayer nanowires produced in ferromagnetic/non-magnetic interfaces. Furthermore, the magnetic field dependence of TGV (MTGV) cannot be accounted for by GMR and MTEP effects. Therefore, a novel spin-dependent mechanism is invoked in such measurements. A simple phenomenological model, ascribed in the framework of thermodynamics of irreversible processes, was developed to explain this effect. It allows to identify this phenomena to a novel spin-dependent variable: The asymmetry of spin-mixing mechanisms (ΔL). This variable will be related to the difference of transition rates between both spin channels (τ-1+- and τ-1-+) developed in ferromagnetic material due to electron-magnon interactions. A large magnetic field dependence of TGV signals were observed in magnetic granular systems. Moreover, MTGV shows a different dependence from GMR on magnetic field, grain size and temperature. This effect is identified as a spin-mixing mechanism produced by the electron spin precession about the magnetic grain moments.


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