Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nanomagnets for future data storage

31.03.2017

The idea is intriguing: if only a single atom or small molecule was needed for a single unit of data (a zero or a one in the case of binary digital technology), massive volumes of data could be stored in the tiniest amount of space. This is theoretically possible, because certain atoms can be magnetised in only one of two possible directions: "spin up" or "spin down". Information could then be stored and read by the sequence of the molecules' magnetisation directions.

However, several obstacles still need to be overcome before single-molecule magnet data storage becomes a reality. Finding molecules that can store the magnetic information permanently and not just fleetingly is a challenge, and it is even more difficult to arrange these molecules on a solid surface to build data storage carriers. To address the latter problem, an international team of researchers led by chemists from ETH Zurich has now developed a new method that offers numerous advantages over other approaches.


Dysprosium atoms (green) on the surface of nanoparticles can be magnetized in only one of two possible directions: "spin up" or "spin down."

Credit: ETH Zurich / Université de Rennes

Fusing atoms to the surface

Christophe Copéret, a professor at the Laboratory of Inorganic Chemistry at ETH Zurich, and his team developed a molecule with a dysprosium atom at its centre (dysprosium is a metal belonging to the rare-earth elements). This atom is surrounded by a molecular scaffold that serves as a vehicle. The scientists also developed a method for depositing such molecules on the surface of silica nanoparticles and fusing them by annealing at 400 degrees Celsius. The molecular structure used as a vehicle disintegrates in the process, yielding nanoparticles with dysprosium atoms well-dispersed at their surface. The scientists showed that these atoms can be magnetised and maintain their magnetic information.

The magnetisation process currently only works at around minus 270 degrees Celsius (near absolute zero), and the magnetisation can be maintained for up to one and a half minute. The scientists are therefore looking for methods that will allow the magnetisation to be stabilised at higher temperatures and for longer periods of time. They are also looking for ways to fuse atoms to a flat surface instead of to nanoparticles.

Simple preparation

One of the advantages of the new method is its simplicity. "Nanoparticles bonded with dysprosium can be made in any chemical laboratory. No cleanroom and complex equipment are required," says Florian Allouche, a doctoral student in Copéret's group. In addition, the magnetisable nanoparticles can be stored at room temperature and re-utilized.

Other preparation methods include the direct deposition of individual atoms onto a surface, yet the materials obtained are only stable at very low temperatures mainly due to the agglomeration of these individual atoms. Alternatively, molecules with ideal magnetic properties can be deposited onto a surface, but this immobilization often negatively affects the structure and the magnetic properties of the final object.

###

For this research project, ETH scientists worked with colleagues from the Universities of Lyon and Rennes, Collège de France in Paris, Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland, and Berkeley National Laboratory in the USA.

Reference

Allouche F et al.: Magnetic Memory from Site Isolated Dy(III) on Silica Materials. ACS Central Science 2017, doi: 10.1021/acscentsci.7b00035

Media Contact

Dr. Christophe Copéret
ccoperet@inorg.chem.ethz.ch
41-446-339-394

 @ETH_en

http://www.ethz.ch/index_EN 

Dr. Christophe Copéret | EurekAlert!

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Subaru Telescope helps pinpoint origin of ultra-high energy neutrino
16.07.2018 | National Institutes of Natural Sciences

nachricht Nano-kirigami: 'Paper-cut' provides model for 3D intelligent nanofabrication
16.07.2018 | Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters

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: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Subaru Telescope helps pinpoint origin of ultra-high energy neutrino

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides

16.07.2018 | Life Sciences

New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon

16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>