Magnetism in molecules and solids is understood to originate from atoms in that part of the periodic table where a particular value of the angular momentum appears first (i.e., the 2p, 3d, and 4f series). In contrast to the many magnetic compounds containing transition metal or lanthanide atoms, ferromagnetism based on atoms from the 2p series is very rare. We report density functional calculations that show the existing compound rubidium sesquioxide is a ferromagnet with an estimated Curie temperature of 300 K, unprecedented in p-electron magnetism. The magnetic moment is carried by the anion. Rubidium sesquioxide is a conductor, but only for the minority spin electrons (a so-called "half-metal"). Half-metals play an important role in spintronics, that is, electronics that exploits the electron spin. Since the magnetic moment resides on a light element (oxygen), spin-orbit interactions are considerably reduced compared to other half-metals. Consequently spin relaxation is expected to be suppressed by up to 2 orders of magnitude in comparison with materials presently used in spintronics.
- AUGMENTED-WAVE METHOD