Research / Technical

Researchers develop non-thermal method to alter magnetization using XUV radiation

Researchers from the Max Born Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy, Sorbonne Université CNRS, INRS-EMT, FERMI, Uppsala University, University of York and University of Hull have developed a non-thermal method to alter magnetization using XUV radiation, utilizing the inverse Faraday effect in an iron-gadolinium alloy. This approach enables significant magnetization changes without the usual thermal effects, promising enhancements in ultrafast magnetism technologies. 

Intense laser pulses can be used to manipulate or even switch the magnetization orientation of a material on extremely short time scales. Typically, such effects are thermally induced, as the absorbed laser energy heats up the material very rapidly, causing an ultrafast perturbation of the magnetic order. The research team has now demonstrated an effective non-thermal approach of generating large magnetization changes. By exposing a ferrimagnetic iron-gadolinium alloy to circularly polarized pulses of extreme ultraviolet (XUV) radiation, they could reveal a particularly strong magnetic response depending on the handedness of the incoming XUV light burst (left- or right-circular polarization).

Read the full story Posted: Jul 11,2024

Researchers identify record-setting electron mobility in a new crystal film

Researchers at MIT, DEVCOM Army Research Laboratory, The Ohio State University, and University of Ottawa have reported unique electron mobility in a new crystal film that could be the basis for wearable thermoelectric and spintronic devices.

A material with a high electron mobility is like a highway without traffic, and the electrons that flow into the material experience movement without any obstacles to slow or scatter them off their path. The higher a material’s electron mobility, the more efficient its electrical conductivity, and the less energy is lost or wasted as electrons move through. Advanced materials that exhibit high electron mobility will be essential for more efficient and sustainable electronic devices that can do more work with less power.

Read the full story Posted: Jul 02,2024

Researchers develop novel way to transport spin currents

Spintronics relies on the transport of spin currents for computing and communication applications. New device designs would be possible if this spin transport could be carried out by both electrons and magnetic waves called magnons. But spin transport via magnons typically requires electrically insulating magnets—materials that cannot be easily integrated with silicon electronics. Recently, a novel way to bypass that requirement has been developed by researchers at ETH Zürich, Bavarian Academy of Sciences, Technical University of Munich, University of Konstanz, Munich Center for Quantum Science and Technology (MCQST) and Autonomous University of Madrid.

The researchers say that this finding could have important implications for both spintronic applications and fundamental research on spin transport. To demonstrate their concept, the scientists placed two magnetic, metallic strips—each hosting coupled electrons and magnons—on a nonmagnetic, insulating substrate. In the first strip, the researchers converted electron charge currents to electron spin currents. These spin currents were transferred first to the magnons in the same strip, then across the substrate to the magnons in the second strip, and finally to the electrons in the second strip. The researchers detected this spin transport by converting the electron spin currents in the second strip to charge currents.

Read the full story Posted: Jun 23,2024

Researchers design novel approach to identifying altermagnetic materials

Researchers at Osaka Metropolitan University, University of Nottingham, Czech Academy of Sciences, Diamond Light Source, ohannes Kepler University Linz, Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz, TU Wien and Masaryk University have used symmetry, ab initio theory, and experiments to explore x-ray magnetic circular dichroism (XMCD) in the altermagnetic class. The international research group recently pioneered a new method to identify altermagnets, using manganese telluride (α-MnTe) as a testbed. 

Magnetic materials have traditionally been classified as either ferromagnetic or antiferromagnetic. However, there appears to be a third class of magnetic materials exhibiting what is known as 'altermagnetism'. In ferromagnetic materials, all the electron spins point in the same direction, while in antiferromagnetic materials, the electron spins are aligned in opposite directions, half pointing one way and half the other, canceling out the net magnetism. Altermagnetic materials are proposed in theory to possess properties combining those of both antiferromagnetic and ferromagnetic materials. One potential application of altermagnetic materials is in spintronics technology, which aims to utilize the spin of electrons effectively in electronic devices such as next-generation magnetic memories. However, identifying altermagnets has been a challenge.

Read the full story Posted: Jun 15,2024

Researchers report quantum coherent spin in hexagonal boron nitride at ambient conditions

Researchers at the University of Cambridge, University of Technology Sydney, The Australian National University and Hitachi Europe have found that a ‘single atomic defect' in a layered 2D material, hexagonal Boron Nitride (hBN), can hold onto quantum information for microseconds at room temperature. This highlights the potential of 2D materials in advancing quantum technologies.

The scientists have shown that hBN exhibits spin coherence under ambient conditions, and that these spins can be controlled with light. Spin coherence refers to an electronic spin being capable of retaining quantum information over time. The discovery is significant as materials that can host quantum properties under ambient conditions are quite rare.

Read the full story Posted: May 22,2024

Researchers study the importance of direction when injecting pure spin into chiral materials

Researchers at North Carolina State University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Beijing Normal University have studied how the spin information of an electron, called a pure spin current, moves through chiral materials. 

They found that the direction in which the spins are injected into chiral materials affects their ability to pass through them. These chiral “gateways” could be used to design energy-efficient spintronic devices for data storage, communication and computing.

Read the full story Posted: May 11,2024

Researchers show that skyrmions can move at accelerated speeds using antiferromagnets

An international team of researchers, led by scientists from the CNRS, has reported that the magnetic nanobubbles known as skyrmions can be moved by electrical currents, attaining record speeds up to 900 m/s.

Magnetic skyrmions are topological magnetic textures that hold great promise as nanoscale bits of information in memory and logic devices. While room-temperature ferromagnetic skyrmions and their current-induced manipulation have been demonstrated, their velocity has thus far been limited to about 100 meters per second, which is too slow for computing applications. In addition, their dynamics are perturbed by the skyrmion Hall effect, a motion transverse to the current direction caused by the skyrmion topological charge. 

Read the full story Posted: May 07,2024

Researchers present new approach to create and stabilize complex spin textures

Spins can form complex magnetic structures within the nanometer and micrometer scale in which the magnetization direction twists along specific directions. Examples of such structures are magnetic bubbles, skyrmions, and magnetic vortices. Spintronics aims to make use of such tiny magnetic structures to store data or perform logic operations with very low power consumption compared to today's dominant microelectronic components. However, the generation and stabilization of most of these magnetic textures is restricted to a few materials and achievable under very specific conditions (temperature, magnetic field, etc.).

An international collaboration led by Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has presented a new approach that can be used to create and stabilize complex spin textures, such as radial vortices, in a variety of compounds. In a radial vortex, the magnetization points towards or away from the center of the structure. This type of magnetic configuration is usually highly unstable. Within this novel approach, radial vortices are created with the help of superconducting structures, while the presence of surface defects achieves their stabilization.

Read the full story Posted: Apr 23,2024

Researchers develop imaging technique for visualization of spin-polarized electronic states

Researchers at Japan's National Institute for Materials Science have developed an improved type of microscope that can visualize key aspects of electron spin states in materials. The quantum mechanical property of electrons called spin is more complex than the spin of objects in our everyday world but is related to it as a measure of an electron’s angular momentum. The spin states of electrons can have a significant impact on the electronic and magnetic behavior of the materials they are part of.

The technology, developed by Koichiro Yaji and Shunsuke Tsuda, is known as imaging-type spin-resolved photoemission microscopy (iSPEM). It uses the interaction of light with the electrons in a material to detect the relative alignment of the electron spins. It is particularly focused on electron spin polarization – the extent to which electron spins are collectively aligned in a specific direction.

Read the full story Posted: Apr 17,2024

Researchers tackle key obstacles to bringing 2D magnetic materials into practical use

Researchers at MIT have tackled key obstacles to bringing 2D magnetic materials into practical use. The team designed a “van der Waals atomically layered heterostructure” device where a 2D van der Waals magnet, iron gallium telluride, is interfaced with another 2D material, tungsten ditelluride. The team shows that the magnet can be toggled between the 0 and 1 states simply by applying pulses of electrical current across their two-layer device. 

Use of magnetic materials to build computing devices like memories and processors has emerged as a promising avenue for creating “beyond-CMOS” computers, which would use far less energy compared to traditional computers. Magnetization switching in magnets can be used in computation the same way that a transistor switches from open or closed to represent the 0s and 1s of binary code. While much of the research along this direction has focused on using bulk magnetic materials, a new class of magnetic materials — called two-dimensional van der Waals magnets — provides superior properties that can improve the scalability and energy efficiency of magnetic devices to make them commercially viable.

Read the full story Posted: Apr 08,2024