Strained Zigzag Graphene Nanoribbon Devices With Vacancies as Perfect Spin Filters

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The transport properties of zigzag graphene nanoribbons (zGNRs) were studied by density functional theory (DFT) in conjunction with Green’s function analysis. In particular, spin transport through a zGNR (12,0) device was investigated under the constraint of ferromagnetic coordination of the ribbon edges. Several configurations with two vacant sites in the edge and the bulk region of the zGNR device were derived from this system. For all structures, magnetocurrent ratios (MCRs) were recorded as a function of the bias as well as the amount of strain applied longitudinally to the devices. ZGNR devices with vacancies in the edge regime turn out to exhibit perfect spin-filter activity for well-defined choices of the strain and the bias, carrying completely polarized minority spin currents. In the alternative structure, characterized by vacancies in the bulk regime, spin currents with majority orientation prevail. With respect to both the sign and the size, the MCR is seen to depend sensitively on the device parameters, i.e., the vacancy locations, the bias, and the amount of strain. These results are interpreted in terms of density-of-states distributions, transmission spectra, and transmission operator eigenstates.