Handbook of Computational Nanotechnology

Ab-initio methods for spin-transport at the nanoscale level

S. Sanvito

Recent advances in atomic and nano-scale growth and characterization techniques have led to the production of modern magnetic materials and magneto-devices which reveal a range of new fascinating phenomena. The modeling of these is a tough theoretical challenging since one has to describe accurately both electronic structure of the constituent materials, and their transport properties. In this paper I review recent advances in modeling spin-transport at the atomic scale using first-principles methods, focusing both on the methodological aspects and on the applications. The review, which is designed as tutorial for students at postgraduate level, is structured in six main sections: 1) Introduction, 2) General concepts in spin-transport, 3) Transport Theory: Linear Response, 4) Transport Theory: Non-equilibrium Transport, 5) Results, 6) Conclusion. In addition an overview of the computational codes available to date is also included.