Reduction of dopant ions and enhancement of magnetic properties by UV irradiation in Ce-doped TiO2

Reduction of dopant ions and enhancement of magnetic properties by UV irradiation in Ce-doped TiO2

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We report the experimental observation of and theoretical explanation for the reduction of dopant ions and enhancement of magnetic properties in Ce-doped TiO2 diluted magnetic semiconductors from UV-light irradiation. Substantial increase in Ce3+ concentration and creation of oxygen vacancy defects in the sample due to UV-light irradiation was observed by X-ray and optical methods. Magnetic measurements demonstrate a combination of paramagnetism and ferromagnetism up to room temperatures in all samples. The magnetization of both paramagnetic and ferromagnetic components was observed to be dramatically enhanced in the irradiated sample. First-principle theoretical calculations show that valence holes created by UV irradiation can substantially lower the formation energy of oxygen vacancies. While the electron spin densities for defect states near oxygen vacancies in pure TiO2 are in antiferromagnetic orientation, they are in ferromagnetic orientations in Ce-doped TiO2. Therefore, the ferromagnetically-oriented spin densities near oxygen vacancies created by UV irradiation are the most probable cause for the experimentally observed enhancement of magnetism in the irradiated Ce-doped TiO2.

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