Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Understanding the mechanism for generating electric current without energy consumption at room temperature

28.12.2015

A group of researchers in Japan and China identified the requirements for the development of new types of extremely low power consumption electric devices by studying Cr-doped (Sb, Bi)2Te3 thin films. This study has been reported in Nature Communications.

At extremely low temperatures, an electric current flows around the edge of the film without energy loss, and under no external magnetic field. This attractive phenomenon is due to the material's ferromagnetic properties; however, so far, it has been unclear how the material gains this property. For the first time, researchers have revealed the mechanism by which this occurs.


Ferromagnetism mediated by Sb or Te atoms

(Credit: Hiroshima University)

“Hopefully, this achievement will lead to the creation of novel materials that operate at room temperature in the future,” said Akio Kimura, a professor at Hiroshima University and a member of the research group.

Their achievement can be traced back to the discovery of the quantum Hall effect in the 1980’s, where an electric current flows along an edge (or interface) without energy loss. However, this requires both a large external magnetic field and an extremely low temperature. This is why practical applications have not been possible. Researchers believed that this problem could be overcome with new materials called topological insulators that have ferromagnetic properties such as those found in Cr-doped (Sb, Bi)2Te3.

A topological insulator, predicted in 2005 and first observed in 2007, is neither a metal nor an insulator, and has exotic properties. For example, an electric current is generated only at the surface or the edge of the material, while no electric current is generated inside it. It looks as if only the surface or the edge of the material has metallic properties, while on the inside it is an insulator.

At extremely low temperatures, a thin film made of Cr-doped (Sb, Bi)2Te3 shows a peculiar phenomenon. As the film itself is ferromagnetic, an electric current is spontaneously generated without an external magnetic field and electric current flows only around the edge of the film without energy loss. However, it was previously unknown as to why Cr-doped (Sb, Bi)2Te3 had such ferromagnetic properties that allowed it to generate electric current.

“That’s why we selected the material as the object of our study,” said Professor Kimura.

Because Cr is a magnetic element, a Cr atom is equivalent to an atomic-sized magnet. The N-S orientations of such atomic-sized magnets tend to be aligned in parallel by the interactions between the Cr atoms. When the N-S orientations of Cr atoms in Cr-doped (Sb, Bi)2Te3 are aligned in parallel, the material exhibits ferromagnetism. However, the interatomic distances between the Cr atoms in the material are, in fact, too long to interact sufficiently to make the material ferromagnetic.

The group found that the non-magnetic element atoms, such as the Sb and Te atoms, mediate the magnetic interactions between Cr atoms and serve as the glue to fix the N-S orientations of Cr atoms that face one direction. In addition, the group expects that its finding will provide a way to increase the critical temperature for relevant device applications.

The experiments for this research were mainly conducted at SPring-8. “We would not have achieved perfect results without the facilities and the staff there. They devoted themselves to detecting the extremely subtle magnetism that the atoms of non-magnetic elements exhibit with extremely high precision. I greatly appreciate their efforts,” Kimura said.

For further information, please contact:

Yujiro Tokumitsu

Hiroshima University

+81-82-424-4397

pr-research@office.hiroshima-u.ac.jp

www.hiroshima-u.ac.jp

 

Full bibliographic information 【Published article】
Ye, M. et al. Carrier-mediated ferromagnetism in the magnetic topological insulator Cr-doped (Sb,Bi)2Te3. Nat. Commun. 6:8913 doi: 10.1038/ncomms9913 (2015).
http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/151119/ncomms9913/full/ncomms9913.html

【Authors and their affiliations】
Mao Ye1,2, Wei Li1,2, Siyuan Zhu3, Yukiharu Takeda4, Yuji Saitoh4, Jiajia Wang5, Hong Pan6, Munisa Nurmamat3, Kazuki Sumida3, Fuhao Ji6, Zhen Liu6, Haifeng Yang1, Zhengtai Liu1, Dawei Shen1,2, Akio Kimura3, Shan Qiao1,2,5, and Xiaoming Xie1,2,5
1 State Key Laboratoryof Functional Materials for Informatics, Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
2 CAS-Shanghai Science Research Center
3 Graduate School of Science, Hiroshima University
4 Condensed Matter Science Division, Quantum Beam Science Center, Japan Atomic Energy Agency
5 School of physical science and technology, ShanghaiTech University
6 Department of Physics, State Key Laboratory of Surface Physics, and Laboratory of Advanced Materials, Fudan University

Yujiro Tokumitsu | AlphaGalileo

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Six-legged robots faster than nature-inspired gait
17.02.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

nachricht Did you know that IR heat plays a central role in the production of chocolates?
14.02.2017 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Real-time MRI analysis powered by supercomputers

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections

17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>