Antiferromagnetic Tetragonal CuMnAs hold promise for future Spintronics and nanoelectronic devices

Researchers from the University of Nottingham are studying a new antiferromagnetic spintronic material - tetragonal CuMnAs. They say that this new material enables new device structure designs that combine Spintronic and nanoelectronic functionality - at room temperature.

An antiferromagnet is a material in which electron spin on adjacent atoms cancel each other out - and so it was considered unsuitable for Spintronics applications. However it was recently discovered that these materials have a physical phenomena that can enable memory and sensing applications.

Spintronics and Staintronics to enable ultra low power ICs

Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University created an integrated circuit using spintronics and straintronics. The new IC design uses very little energy - in fact it could run merely by tapping the ambient energy from the environment.

The researchers say that while Spintronics promises very low power switching, when ramped up to usable processing speeds, much of that energy savings is lost because the energy is transferred to the magnet. The new design uses a special class of composite structure called multiferroics (a layer of piezoelectric material with intimate contact to a magnetostrictive nanomagnet). This generates strains in the piezoelectric layer when voltage (even a tiny voltage) is applied - which is then transferred to the magnetostrictive layer. This strain rotates the direction of magnetism, achieving the flip.

Rhomap established to develop measurement systems for Spintronics and other applications

Durham University spun-off a new company called Rhomap to develop manufacture-to-order scientific instrumentation for high precision magneto-transport measurement systems. Rhomap's instruments targets new materials and next generation semiconductors, photovoltaics, spintronics and ferromagnetic systems.

The new Ohmpoint Measurement System is a flexible research tool that offers a range of software selectable sample connection probe geometries in one system. The instrument allows users to measure resistance in two or four point geometry, sheet resistance and magneto-transport behavior, including Hall effect and magnetoresistance. The flexibility of the system also enables the user to easily select between individual measurements and batch scanning of multiple samples.

Manganites can change its stripes from fluctuating to static and back

Manganites are compounds of manganese oxides which are feature colossal magnetoresistance - and are promising candidates for spintronics applications. Researchers from the University of Colorado discovered that 2D bilayer manganite (a lanthanum strontium manganese oxide) can change its stripes from fluctuating to static and back. Magnatide stripe are regions where where the material’s electrical charges gather and concentrate. Other so-called correlated-electron materials also have stripes, including many high-temperature superconductors having the same crystal structure: arrangements of layers of atoms named for the mineral perovskite.

Manganite stripes photo

The results mean that the material can switch from a metallic state (a conductor) to an insulator. This is the first good insight into what happens to the electronic properties of a material when stripes 'fluctuate'. It establishes the existence of a distinct new phase of the material, which the researchers call fluctuating bi-stripes.

Atomtronics could be more powerful than electronics or spintronics

There's a new science called Atomtronics - which could make devices more powerful than electronics or spintronics. The idea is to use super-cooling atoms that form Bose-Einstein condensates ('gas clouds') and then use them as we use electronics, diodes and transistors. The atoms in the condensate flow as a current, which can be switched on and off like a normal circuit.

Gas Donut photo

This is still all in theory, but there are some scientists already working towards such goals - to create powerful computing devices or memory devices. This is different from spintronics, which stores information based on the spin of individual electrons, allowing each one to store two bits of data instead of one.