The Giant Magnetoresistance is a quantum effect, which appears in layered structures of magnetic materials. The effect is used today in nearly every hard disk read-out head, as it allows the storage of extremely densely-packed information. The storage capacity of hard disks has therefore increased way beyond the gigabyte barrier since the mid 1990s. In addition, Grünberg’s discovery laid the groundwork for the new research field of spintronics, which exploits the quantum spin states of electrons for usage in micro as well as nanoelectronics. “The fact that Grünberg has now received the Nobel Prize does not only please me personally, but also shows that the Helmholtz Association provides an excellent working environment for extraordinary researchers,” says Mlynek.
The Nobel Prize in Physics goes to the German solid state physicist Prof. Dr. Peter Grünberg from the Helmholtz Research Centre in Jülich. Grünberg shares the award with his colleague Albert Fert (Paris-Sud University) for the discovery of Giant Magnetoresistance. In 1988, both scientists discovered this physical effect independently of each other.