Staff directory



  • Bottom-up synthesis of multifunctional nanoporous graphene

    Moreno C., Vilas-Varela M., Kretz B., Garcia-Lekue A., Costache M.V., Paradinas M., Panighel M., Ceballos G., Valenzuela S.O., Peña D., Mugarza A. Science; 360 (6385): 199 - 203. 2018. 10.1126/science.aar2009.

    Nanosize pores can turn semimetallic graphene into a semiconductor and, from being impermeable, into the most efficient molecular-sieve membrane. However, scaling the pores down to the nanometer, while fulfilling the tight structural constraints imposed by applications, represents an enormous challenge for present top-down strategies. Here we report a bottom-up method to synthesize nanoporous graphene comprising an ordered array of pores separated by ribbons, which can be tuned down to the 1-nanometer range. The size, density, morphology, and chemical composition of the pores are defined with atomic precision by the design of the molecular precursors. Our electronic characterization further reveals a highly anisotropic electronic structure, where orthogonal one-dimensional electronic bands with an energy gap of ∼1 electron volt coexist with confined pore states, making the nanoporous graphene a highly versatile semiconductor for simultaneous sieving and electrical sensing of molecular species. 2017 © The Authors

  • Impact of the: In situ rise in hydrogen partial pressure on graphene shape evolution during CVD growth of graphene

    Gebeyehu Z.M., Arrighi A., Costache M.V., Sotomayor-Torres C.M., Esplandiu M.J., Valenzuela S.O. RSC Advances; 8 (15): 8234 - 8239. 2018. 10.1039/c7ra13169k.

    Exposing graphene to a hydrogen post-etching process yields dendritic graphene shapes. Here, we demonstrate that similar dendritic structures can be achieved at long growth times without adding hydrogen externally. These shapes are not a result of a surface diffusion controlled growth but of the competing backward reaction (etching), which dominates the growth dynamics at long times due to an in situ rise in the hydrogen partial pressure. We have performed a systematic study on the growth of graphene as a function of time to identify the onset and gradual evolution of graphene shapes caused by etching and then demonstrated that the etching can be stopped by reducing the flow of hydrogen from the feed. In addition, we have found that the etching rate due to the in situ rise in hydrogen is strongly dependent on the confinement (geometrical confinement) of copper foil. Highly etched graphene with dendritic shapes was observed in unconfined copper foil regions while no etching was found in graphene grown in a confined reaction region. This highlights the effect of the dynamic reactant distribution in activating the in situ etching process during growth, which needs to be counteracted or controlled for large scale growth. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2018.

  • Strongly anisotropic spin relaxation in graphene-transition metal dichalcogenide heterostructures at room temperature

    Benítez L.A., Sierra J.F., Savero Torres W., Arrighi A., Bonell F., Costache M.V., Valenzuela S.O. Nature Physics; 14 (3): 303 - 308. 2018. 10.1038/s41567-017-0019-2.

    A large enhancement in the spin-orbit coupling of graphene has been predicted when interfacing it with semiconducting transition metal dichalcogenides. Signatures of such an enhancement have been reported, but the nature of the spin relaxation in these systems remains unknown. Here, we unambiguously demonstrate anisotropic spin dynamics in bilayer heterostructures comprising graphene and tungsten or molybdenum disulphide (WS2, MoS2). We observe that the spin lifetime varies over one order of magnitude depending on the spin orientation, being largest when the spins point out of the graphene plane. This indicates that the strong spin-valley coupling in the transition metal dichalcogenide is imprinted in the bilayer and felt by the propagating spins. These findings provide a rich platform to explore coupled spin-valley phenomena and offer novel spin manipulation strategies based on spin relaxation anisotropy in two-dimensional materials. © 2017 The Author(s).

  • Thermoelectric spin voltage in graphene

    Sierra J.F., Neumann I., Cuppens J., Raes B., Costache M.V., Valenzuela S.O. Nature Nanotechnology; 13 (2): 107 - 111. 2018. 10.1038/s41565-017-0015-9.

    In recent years, new spin-dependent thermal effects have been discovered in ferromagnets, stimulating a growing interest in spin caloritronics, a field that exploits the interaction between spin and heat currents 1,2 . Amongst the most intriguing phenomena is the spin Seebeck effect 3-5, in which a thermal gradient gives rise to spin currents that are detected through the inverse spin Hall effect 6-8 . Non-magnetic materials such as graphene are also relevant for spin caloritronics, thanks to efficient spin transport 9-11, energy-dependent carrier mobility and unique density of states 12,13 . Here, we propose and demonstrate that a carrier thermal gradient in a graphene lateral spin valve can lead to a large increase of the spin voltage near to the graphene charge neutrality point. Such an increase results from a thermoelectric spin voltage, which is analogous to the voltage in a thermocouple and that can be enhanced by the presence of hot carriers generated by an applied current 14-17 . These results could prove crucial to drive graphene spintronic devices and, in particular, to sustain pure spin signals with thermal gradients and to tune the remote spin accumulation by varying the spin-injection bias. © 2017 The Author(s).


  • Spin precession in anisotropic media

    Raes B., Cummings A.W., Bonell F., Costache M.V., Sierra J.F., Roche S., Valenzuela S.O. Physical Review B; 95 (8, 085403) 2017. 10.1103/PhysRevB.95.085403. IF: 3.836

    We generalize the diffusive model for spin injection and detection in nonlocal spin structures to account for spin precession under an applied magnetic field in an anisotropic medium, for which the spin lifetime is not unique and depends on the spin orientation. We demonstrate that the spin precession (Hanle) line shape is strongly dependent on the degree of anisotropy and on the orientation of the magnetic field. In particular, we show that the anisotropy of the spin lifetime can be extracted from the measured spin signal, after dephasing in an oblique magnetic field, by using an analytical formula with a single fitting parameter. Alternatively, after identifying the fingerprints associated with the anisotropy, we propose a simple scaling of the Hanle line shapes at specific magnetic field orientations that results in a universal curve only in the isotropic case. The deviation from the universal curve can be used as a complementary means of quantifying the anisotropy by direct comparison with the solution of our generalized model. Finally, we applied our model to graphene devices and find that the spin relaxation for graphene on silicon oxide is isotropic within our experimental resolution. © 2017 American Physical Society.


  • Determination of the spin-lifetime anisotropy in graphene using oblique spin precession

    Raes B., Scheerder J.E., Costache M.V., Bonell F., Sierra J.F., Cuppens J., Van De Vondel J., Valenzuela S.O. Nature Communications; 7 ( 11444) 2016. 10.1038/ncomms11444. IF: 11.329

    We determine the spin-lifetime anisotropy of spin-polarized carriers in graphene. In contrast to prior approaches, our method does not require large out-of-plane magnetic fields and thus it is reliable for both low-and high-carrier densities. We first determine the in-plane spin lifetime by conventional spin precession measurements with magnetic fields perpendicular to the graphene plane. Then, to evaluate the out-of-plane spin lifetime, we implement spin precession measurements under oblique magnetic fields that generate an out-of-plane spin population. We find that the spin-lifetime anisotropy of graphene on silicon oxide is independent of carrier density and temperature down to 150 K, and much weaker than previously reported. Indeed, within the experimental uncertainty, the spin relaxation is isotropic. Altogether with the gate dependence of the spin lifetime, this indicates that the spin relaxation is driven by magnetic impurities or random spin-orbit or gauge fields.


  • Hot-Carrier Seebeck Effect: Diffusion and Remote Detection of Hot Carriers in Graphene

    Sierra J.F., Neumann I., Costache M.V., Valenzuela S.O. Nano Letters; 15 (6): 4000 - 4005. 2015. 10.1021/acs.nanolett.5b00922. IF: 13.592

    We investigate hot carrier propagation across graphene using an electrical nonlocal injection/detection method. The device consists of a monolayer graphene flake contacted by multiple metal leads. Using two remote leads for electrical heating, we generate a carrier temperature gradient that results in a measurable thermoelectric voltage VNL across the remaining (detector) leads. Due to the nonlocal character of the measurement, VNL is exclusively due to the Seebeck effect. Remarkably, a departure from the ordinary relationship between Joule power P and VNL, VNL ∼ P, becomes readily apparent at low temperatures, representing a fingerprint of hot-carrier dominated thermoelectricity. By studying VNL as a function of bias, we directly determine the carrier temperature and the characteristic cooling length for hot-carrier propagation, which are key parameters for a variety of new applications that rely on hot-carrier transport. (Figure Presented). © 2015 American Chemical Society.


  • Fingerprints of inelastic transport at the surface of the topological insulator Bi 2 Se 3: Role of electron-phonon coupling

    Costache, M.V.; Neumann, I.; Sierra, J.F.; Marinova, V.; Gospodinov, M.M.; Roche, S.; Valenzuela, S.O. Physical Review Letters; 2014. 10.1103/PhysRevLett.112.086601. IF: 7.728


  • Electrical detection of spin precession in freely suspended graphene spin valves on cross-linked poly(methyl methacrylate)

    Neumann, I.; Van De Vondel, J.; Bridoux, G.; Costache, M.V.; Alzina, F.; Torres, C.M.S.; Valenzuela, S.O. Small; 9 (1): 156 - 160. 2013. 10.1002/smll.201201194. IF: 7.823

  • Enhanced spin accumulation at room temperature in graphene spin valves with amorphous carbon interfacial layers

    Neumann, I.; Costache, M.V.; Bridoux, G.; Sierra, J.F.; Valenzuela, S.O. Applied Physics Letters; 2013. 10.1063/1.4820586. IF: 3.794


  • Lateral metallic devices made by a multiangle shadow evaporation technique

    Costache, M.V.; Bridoux, G.; Neumann, I.; Valenzuela, S.O. Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology B: Microelectronics and Nanometer Structures; 30: 4. 2012. .


  • Enhanced spin signal in nonlocal devices based on a ferromagnetic CoFeAl alloy

    Bridoux, G.; Costache, M. V.; Van de Vondel, J. ; Neumann, I.; Valenzuela, S. O. Applied Physics Letters; 2011. .

  • Generation of pure spin currents in a single electron transistor with a superconducting island

    Costache, M.V.; Valenzuela, S.O. Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering; 2011. 10.1117/12.890231 .

  • Magnon-drag thermopile

    Costache, M.V.; Bridoux, G.; Neumann, I.; Valenzuela, S.O. Nature Materials; 2011. .

  • Perpendicular switching of a single ferromagnetic layer induced by in-plane current injection

    Miron I.M., Garello K., Gaudin G., Zermatten P.-J., Costache M.V., Auffret S., Bandiera S., Rodmacq B., Schuhl A., Gambardella P. Nature; 476 (7359): 189 - 193. 2011. 10.1038/nature10309.

    Modern computing technology is based on writing, storing and retrieving information encoded as magnetic bits. Although the giant magnetoresistance effect has improved the electrical read out of memory elements, magnetic writing remains the object of major research efforts. Despite several reports of methods to reverse the polarity of nanosized magnets by means of local electric fields and currents, the simple reversal of a high-coercivity, single-layer ferromagnet remains a challenge. Materials with large coercivity and perpendicular magnetic anisotropy represent the mainstay of data storage media, owing to their ability to retain a stable magnetization state over long periods of time and their amenability to miniaturization. However, the same anisotropy properties that make a material attractive for storage also make it hard to write to. Here we demonstrate switching of a perpendicularly magnetized cobalt dot driven by in-plane current injection at room temperature. Our device is composed of a thin cobalt layer with strong perpendicular anisotropy and Rashba interaction induced by asymmetric platinum and AlO x interface layers. The effective switching field is orthogonal to the direction of the magnetization and to the Rashba field. The symmetry of the switching field is consistent with the spin accumulation induced by the Rashba interaction and the spin-dependent mobility observed in non-magnetic semiconductors, as well as with the torque induced by the spin Hall effect in the platinum layer. Our measurements indicate that the switching efficiency increases with the magnetic anisotropy of the cobalt layer and the oxidation of the aluminium layer, which is uppermost, suggesting that the Rashba interaction has a key role in the reversal mechanism. To prove the potential of in-plane current switching for spintronic applications, we construct a reprogrammable magnetic switch that can be integrated into non-volatile memory and logic architectures. This device is simple, scalable and compatible with present-day magnetic recording technology. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


  • All magnesium diboride Josephson junctions with MgO and native oxide barriers

    Costache, M.V. ; Moodera, J.S. Applied Physics Letters; 2010. .

  • Experimental spin ratchet

    Costache, M.V.; Valenzuela, S.O. SCIENCE; 330: 1645 - 1648. 2010. 10.1126/science.1196228.