We show direct evidence for the impact of Heusler/semiconductor interfaces atomic structure on the spin transport signals in semiconductor-based lateral spin-valve (LSV) devices. Based on atomic scale Z-contrast scanning transmission electron microscopy and energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy we show that atomic order/disorder of Co2FeAlSi (CFAS)/-Ge LSV devices is critical for the spin injection in Ge. By conducting a postannealing of the LSV devices, we find 90% decrease in the spin signal while there is no difference in the electrical properties of the CFAS /n-Ge contacts and in the spin diffusion length of the n-Ge layer. We show that the reduction in the spin signals after annealing is attributed to the presence of intermixing phases at the Heusler/semiconductor interface. First-principles calculations show how that intermixed interface region has drastically reduced spin polarization at the Fermi level, which is the main cause for the significant decrease of the spin signal in the annealed devices above 300 C.
©2018 American Physical Society. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details