Computational Discovery of Two-Dimensional Rare-Earth Iodides: Promising Ferrovalley Materials for Valleytronics

Abhishek Sharan, Stephan Lany, Nirpendra Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus Citations


Two-dimensional Ferrovalley materials with intrinsic valley polarization are rare but highly promising for valley-based nonvolatile random access memory and valley filter devices. These ferromagnetic materials exhibit valleys at or near the Fermi level with intrinsic magnetism. The strong coupling between magnetism and spin-orbit coupling induces intrinsic valley polarization. Using Kinetically Limited Minimization, an unconstrained crystal structure prediction algorithm, and prototype sampling based on first-principles calculations, we have discovered new Ferrovalley materials, rare-earth iodides RI2, where R is a rare-earth element belonging to Sc, Y, or La-Lu, and I is Iodine. The rare-earth iodides are layered and demonstrate either 2H, 1T, or 1Td phase as the ground state in bulk, analogous to transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs). The calculated exfoliation energy of monolayers (MLs) is comparable to that of graphene and TMDCs, suggesting possible experimental synthesis. The MLs in the 2H phase exhibit ferromagnetism due to unpaired electrons in d and f orbitals. Throughout the rare-earth series, d bands have valley polarization at K and K ‾ points in the Brillouin zone in the vicinity of the Fermi level. Large intrinsic valley polarization in the range of 15-143 meV without external stimuli is observed in these Ferrovalley materials, which can be enhanced further by applying an in-plane bi-axial strain. These valleys can selectively be probed and manipulated for information storage and processing, potentially offering superior performance beyond conventional electronics and spintronics. We further show that the 2H ferromagnetic phase of RI2 MLs possesses non-zero Berry curvature and exhibits anomalous valley Hall effect with considerable anomalous Hall conductivity. Our work will incite exploratory synthesis of the predicted Ferrovalley materials and their application in valleytronics and beyond.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberArticle No. 015021
Number of pages11
Journal2D Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

See NREL/JA-5K00-83386 for preprint

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-85182


  • first-principles calculations
  • materials discovery
  • rare earth iodides
  • valleytronics


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