Current advances in microelectronics depend on novel approaches based on the synergistic use of charge and spin dynamics of electrons in multi-functional materials. Such new concepts have already found practical applications in magnetoelectronics or spintronics (e.g., spin valves or nonvolatile memory components). For efficient spintronic devices, it is desirable to have an enhanced spin polarization, that, to work with nearly 100% spin-polarized currents. Since half metallic materials have electrons of unique spin polarization around the Fermi level (finite density of states in only one spin channel), they are promising candidates for use as spin injectors in spintronic devices. Although the Heusler compounds reported in the literature presenting half-metallic ferro/ferrimagnetism are numerous, only a few contain elements with low toxicity, as for example zirconium, being also susceptible of convenient preparation and processing. Therefore, in future, zirconium-based compounds could become a much suitable alternative to the presently known cobalt, iron, chromium, titanium, manganese, or scandium-based half-metallic Heusler compounds, being of interest especially in biomedical spintronic related applications involved in corrosive/active environment.
Part of the book: Magnetic Materials and Magnetic Levitation