Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists use microscope to view magnetism at atomic level

07.11.2002



Scientists and engineers build the transistors that run televisions, radios and similar electronic devices based on the moving electric charges of electrons. But the electron also has another key property: a magnetic "spin" that scientists believe could be exploited to develop faster, smaller and more efficient devices.

The first step is to determine the magnetic properties of materials that could be used to create futuristic nanoscale devices, a task that has escaped scientists until now. But research published online November 6 in the journal Physical Review Letters by a team of Ohio University physicists details a technique for measuring magnetism at the atomic scale using a scanning tunneling microscope.

Physicists Arthur Smith and Haiqiang Yang employed the high-powered microscope to explore the magnetic properties of a new crystalline compound comprised of manganese and nitrogen, which has potential use in future electronic or magnetic devices.



"It’s the best technique we have for measuring magnetic structure at the atomic scale," said Smith, whose project is funded by the National Science Foundation.

In a device that employs both electronics and "spintronics," a thin layer of magnetic material would be added to conventional electronics to improve performance. Possible applications include a spintronics LED for computer screens, more powerful hard drives and the quantum computer, which could make it possible to perform certain types of complex calculations which would be virtually impossible using conventional computers, said Smith, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy.

"These devices are so rare, so far in the future, that people have only begun to think about what to use them for," he said.

One obstacle scientists face is making the scientific process behind such experimental devices work at room temperature. Current devices work at cold temperatures, typically at or below minus 320 degrees Fahrenheit.

Smith and Yang, a postdoctoral researcher at Ohio University, have been studying the properties of the crystalline compound of manganese and nitrogen for two years, as it has the potential to function at room temperature, Yang said. In the recent experiment, the scientists coated the tip of a needle with magnetized atoms. Then, using it in their microscope like the needle of a record player to "read" the recorded information of a tiny surface area, they observed the magnetic poles of some rows of atoms pointing in one direction, and the poles of other rows of atoms pointing in the opposite direction. On non-magnetic surfaces, the atoms do not have oriented magnetic poles.

Other scientists have had little success using other techniques – which are too indirect or lack the necessary sensitivity -- to image magnetic spin at the atomic level. This suggests that the spin-polarized scanning tunneling microscope holds promise for research in this area, Smith said.

"Our paper provides new evidence that this technique works and that it’s a very important technique for nanotechnology," he said.

Nanomagnetism is a growing area of nanotechnology, Smith said, and scientists in the field expect to begin building nanoscale magnetic structures in the next two years. Now that the physicists have been able to measure spin at the nanoscale, Yang added, they also hope to use the scanning tunneling microscope to modify the surface of magnetic compounds.

Collaborators on the paper are Margarita Prikhodko and Walter Lambrecht of Case Western Reserve University.

Andrea Gibson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ohio.edu/researchnews/
http://prl.aps.org/

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Two dimensional circuit with magnetic quasi-particles
22.01.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern

nachricht Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation
19.01.2018 | Carnegie Institution for Science

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: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Thanks for the memory: NIST takes a deep look at memristors

22.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

Radioactivity from oil and gas wastewater persists in Pennsylvania stream sediments

22.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Saarland University bioinformaticians compute gene sequences inherited from each parent

22.01.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks Wissenschaft & Forschung
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>