Defect-induced magnetism in undoped wide band gap oxides: Zinc vacancies in ZnO as an example

G. Z. Xing, Y. H. Lu, Y. F. Tian, J. B. Yi, C. C. Lim, Y. F. Li, G. P. Li, D. D. Wang, B. Yao, J. Ding, Y. P. Feng, Tao Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

163 Scopus citations


To shed light on the mechanism responsible for the weak ferromagnetism in undoped wide band gap oxides, we carry out a comparative study on ZnO thin films prepared using both sol-gel and molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) methods. Compared with the MBE samples, the sol-gel derived samples show much stronger room temperature ferromagnetism with a magnetic signal persisting up to ∼740 K, and this ferromagnetic order coexists with a high density of defects in the form of zinc vacancies. The donor-acceptor pairs associated with the zinc vacancies also cause a characteristic orange-red photoluminescence in the sol-gel films. Furthermore, the strong correlation between the ferromagnetism and the zinc vacancies is confirmed by our first-principles density functional theory calculations, and electronic band alteration as a result of defect engineering is proposed to play the critical role in stabilizing the long-range ferromagnetism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number022152
JournalAIP Advances
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 20 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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