SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, vol.7, 2017 (SCI-Expanded)
The current flowing through a Mott spin junction depends on the relative spin orientation of the two ferromagnetic layers comprising the "source" and "drain" sides of the junction. The resulting current asymmetry is detected as giant or tunnelling magnetoresistance depending on whether the two ferromagnets are separated by a metal or an insulator. Based on the fundamental principles of reciprocity for spin-dependent electron scattering, one can envisage a one-magnet-only spin junction in which the source is non-magnetic, and the spin information is encoded by the spin polarisation of the electrons that have crossed or are backscattered from the drain magnetic layer. The practical significance of using an unpolarised source is that the state of the magnetic layer can be modified without affecting the process of probing it. Whether this reciprocity is realised in the actual junctions is not yet known. Here, we demonstrate a nano-sized, one-magnet-only Mott spin junction by measuring the finite spin polarisation of the backscattered electrons. Based on this finding, we conclude that since the junction acts as a spin filter, the magnetic layer must experience a spin transfer that could become detectable in view of the high current densities achievable in this technology.