Researchers from Germany's Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) developed and tested a new technique to fabricate spin valves using ion beams. The researchers managed to structure an iron aluminium alloy in such a way as to subdivide the material into individually magnetizable regions at the nanometer scale - and function as a spin valve.

This is a different approach to standard spin valves, made from successive non-magnetic and ferromagnetic layers. The new spin valves has a lateral spin valve geometry, where the different magnetic regions are organized one next to the other as opposed to in layers one on top of the other. This enables the spin valves to work in parallel on large surfaces, and also means that that the production costs are low.