Physical Review Materials

Heusler compounds with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy and large tunneling magnetoresistance

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In the present work we suggest a recipe for finding tetragonal Heusler compounds with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy (PMA) that also exhibit large tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR) when used as electrodes in magnetic tunnel junction devices with suitable tunneling barrier materials. We performed density-functional theory calculations for 286 Heusler compounds and identified 116 stable tetragonal compounds. Ten of these compounds are predicted to have strong PMA and, simultaneously, exponentially increasing TMR with increasing tunneling barrier thickness due to the so-called Brillouin zone spin filtering effect. Experimental measurements performed for 25 Heusler compounds theoretically identified as tetragonal show that ten of these compounds indeed have tetragonal structure with PMA.