We report on the integration of the predicted half-metallic (100% spin-polarized) ferromagnetic Heusler alloy NiMnSb into NiMnSb/Cu and NiMnSb/Ag multilayer structures, and on their magnetic, microstructural and magnetotransport properties. The NiMnSb layer thickness was fixed at 30Å and those of Cu and Ag were varied from 5 to 60Å. The multilayers were characterized using x-ray diffraction (XRD), four-wire resistivity measurements, atomic force microscopy, SQUID magnetometry and magnetotransport measurements. Moderate substrate temperatures (250°C) are shown to be sufficient to produce stochiometric Clb-structured NiMnSb. XRD data confirm that the NiMnSb ultra-thin layers retain their crystalline quality and texture. SQUID measurements shows that the bulk saturation magnetization (∼740 emu/cm3) is maintained and that it is strongly sensitive to interlayer diffusion and roughness. AFM studies show that the surface roughness, which can be as low as 4Å, depends on the choice of spacer layer, layer thickness and substrate temperature. The relationship between the measured magnetoresistance, NiMnSb crystalline quality, magnetic properties and interfacial roughness are discussed.
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