Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NIST measures key property of potential 'spintronic' material

20.10.2011
An advanced material that could help bring about next-generation "spintronic" computers has revealed one of its fundamental secrets to a team of scientists from Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The material, constructed of two different compounds, might one day allow computers to use the magnetic spin of electrons, in addition to their charge, for computation. A host of innovations could result, including fast memory devices that use considerably less power than conventional systems and still retain data when the power is off.

The team's effort not only demonstrates that the custom-made material's properties can be engineered precisely, but in creating a virtually perfect sample of the material, the team also has revealed a fundamental characteristic of devices that can be made from it.

Team members from ANL began by doing something that had never been done before-engineering a highly ordered version of a magnetic oxide compound that naturally has two randomly distributed elements: lanthanum and strontium. Stronger magnetic properties are found in those places in the lattice where extra lanthanum atoms are added. Precise placement of the strontium and lanthanum within the lattice can enable understanding of what is needed to harness the interaction of the magnetic forces among the layers for memory storage applications, but such control has been elusive up to this point.

"These oxides are physically messy to work with, and until very recently, it was not possible to control the local atomic structure so precisely," says Brian Kirby, a physicist at the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR). "Doing so gives us access to important fundamental properties, which are critical to understand if you really want to make optimal use of a material."

The team members from ANL have mastered a technique for laying down the oxides one atomic layer at a time, allowing them to construct an exceptionally organized lattice in which each layer contains only strontium or lanthanum, so that the interface between the two components could be studied. The NIST team members then used the NCNR's polarized neutron reflectometer to analyze how the magnetic properties within this oxide lattice changed as a consequence of the near-perfect placement of atoms.

They found that the influence of electrons near the additional lanthanum layers was spread out across three magnetic layers in either direction, but fell off sharply further away than that. Tiffany Santos, lead scientist on the study from ANL, says that the measurement will be important for the emerging field of oxide spintronics, as it reveals a fundamental size unit for electronic and magnetic effects in memory devices made from the material.

"For electrons to share spin information-something required in a memory system-they will need to be physically close enough to influence each other," Kirby says. "By ordering this material in such a precise way, we were able to see just how big that range of influence is."

* T. S. Santos, B. J. Kirby, S. Kumar, S. J. May, J. A. Borchers, B. B. Maranville, J. Zarestky, S. G. E. te Velthuis, J. van den Brink and A. Bhattacharya. Delta doping of ferromagnetism in antiferromagnetic manganite superlattices. Physical Review Letters, Week ending Oct. 14, 2011, 107, 167202 (2011), DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.107.167202.

Chad Boutin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nist.gov

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments
18.04.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik

nachricht How does a molecule vibrate when you “touch” it?
17.04.2018 | Universität Regensburg

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

Im Focus: The Future of Ultrafast Solid-State Physics

In an article that appears in the journal “Review of Modern Physics”, researchers at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) assess the current state of the field of ultrafast physics and consider its implications for future technologies.

Physicists can now control light in both time and space with hitherto unimagined precision. This is particularly true for the ability to generate ultrashort...

Im Focus: Stronger evidence for a weaker Atlantic overturning

The Atlantic overturning – one of Earth’s most important heat transport systems, pumping warm water northwards and cold water southwards – is weaker today than any time before in more than 1000 years. Sea surface temperature data analysis provides new evidence that this major ocean circulation has slowed down by roughly 15 percent since the middle of the 20th century, according to a study published in the highly renowned journal Nature by an international team of scientists. Human-made climate change is a prime suspect for these worrying observations.

“We detected a specific pattern of ocean cooling south of Greenland and unusual warming off the US coast – which is highly characteristic for a slowdown of the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Improved stability of plastic light-emitting diodes

19.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Enduring cold temperatures alters fat cell epigenetics

19.04.2018 | Life Sciences

New capabilities at NSLS-II set to advance materials science

18.04.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>