Research / Technical

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

Researchers spot homochiral antiferromagnetic merons, antimerons and bimerons in synthetic antiferromagnets

Researchers from Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, ALBA Synchrotron Light Facility and Tohoku University have identified quasiparticles called merons in a synthetic antiferromagnet for the first time, which could lead to new concepts for spintronics devices.

The spintronics field is still rather nascent as research is ongoing. Recent research has focused on structures called skyrmions as potential building blocks. These structures are quasiparticles made up of numerous electron spins and can be thought of as two-dimensional whirls (or “spin textures”) within a material. Skyrmions exist in many magnetic materials, including cobalt–iron–silicon and the manganese–silicide thin films in which they were first discovered. They are attractive spintronics candidates because they are robust to external perturbations, making them particularly stable for storing and processing the information they contain. At just tens of nanometres across, they are also much smaller than the magnetic domains used to encode data in today’s disk drives, making them ideal for future data storage technologies such as “racetrack” memories. Like skyrmions, merons are made up of numerous individual spins. Unlike them, their stray magnetic fields are miniscule, which would facilitate ultrafast operations and even higher information storage densities within a device. Until now, however, merons have only been observed in natural antiferromagnets, where they have proved difficult to analyze and manipulate.

Read the full story Posted: Apr 05,2024

Researchers transfer electron spin to photons

An international team, including researchers from CNRS, Université Paris-Saclay, Chinese Academy of Sciences, the University at Buffalo, University of Minnesota, State University of New York and others, recently used electrical pulses to manipulate magnetic information into a polarized light signal, which could revolutionize long-distance optical telecommunications.

The researchers applied an electrical pulse to transfer spin information from electrons to photons, the particles that make up light, allowing the information to be carried great distances at great speed. Their method meets three crucial criteria — operation at room temperature, no need of magnetic field and the ability for electrical control — and opens the door to a range of applications, including ultrafast communication and quantum technologies.

Read the full story Posted: Mar 30,2024

Researchers demonstrate room temperature chirality switching and detection in a helimagnetic thin film

Researchers from Tohoku University and Toho University have demonstrated chirality switching by electric current pulses at room temperature in a thin-film MnAu2 helimagnetic conductor. The team also succeeded in detecting the chirality at zero magnetic fields by means of simple transverse resistance measurement utilizing the spin Berry phase in a bilayer device composed of MnAu2 and a spin Hall material Pt. These results may pave the way to helimagnet-based spintronics. 

Helimagnetic structures, in which the magnetic moments are spirally ordered, host an internal degree of freedom called chirality corresponding to the handedness of the helix. The chirality seems quite robust against disturbances and is therefore promising for next-generation magnetic memory. While the chirality control was recently achieved by the magnetic field sweep with the application of an electric current at low temperature in a conducting helimagnet, problems such as low working temperature and cumbersome control and detection methods have to be solved in practical applications.

Read the full story Posted: Mar 25,2024