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Recovering ferromagnetic metal surfaces to fully exploit chemistry in molecular spintronics
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Organic spintronics is a new emerging field that promises to offer the full potential of chemistry to spintronics, as for example high versatility through chemical engineering and simple low cost processing. However, one key challenge that remains to be unlocked for further applications is the high incompatibility between spintronics key materials such as high Curie temperature Co, Ni, Fe (and their alloys) and wet chemistry. Indeed, the transition metal proneness to oxidation has so far hampered the integration of wet chemistry processes into the development of room temperature organic spintronics devices. As a result, they had mainly to rely on high vacuum physical processes, restraining the choice of available organic materials to a small set of sublimable molecules. In this letter, focusing on cobalt as an example, we show a wet chemistry method to easily and selectively recover a metallic surface from an air exposed oxidized
surface for further integration into spintronics devices. The oxide etching process, using a glycolic acid based solution, proceeds without increasing the surface roughness and allows the retrieval of an oxygen-free chemically active cobalt layer. This unlocks the full potential of wet chemistry processes towards room temperature molecular spintronics with transition metals electrodes. We demonstrate this by the grafting of alkylthiols self-assembled monolayers on recovered oxidized
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