Researchers in the UK explore 2D hBN as a material for spin valves and MTJs

Researchers from the UK's Manchester University have explored opportunities presented by hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) as a prototypical high-quality two-dimensional insulator that can be used both as a barrier in MTJs and as for spin injection in lateral spin valves.

The research revealed the effect of point defects inevitably present in mechanically exfoliated hBN on the tunnel magnetoresistance of Co-hBN-NiFe MTJs. In particular, the researchers observe a marked enhancement of the magnetoresistance of the junction at well-defined bias voltages, indicating resonant tunneling through magnetic or 'spin-polarized' defect states.

Researchers report on the room temperature multiferroic behavior of Bismuth Iron Manganite thin films

Researchers of the NanoBioMedical center at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan- Poland, in collaboration with the University of Barcelona in Spain, have recently reported on the room temperature multiferroic behavior of Bismuth Iron Manganite (Bi(Fe0.5Mn0.5)O3) thin films, with a thickness below 40nm.

Multiferroic materials are promising for electronics due to the possibility of affecting their magnetic properties by electric means. In their article the team has not only shown the interdependence of both magnetic and electric properties at room temperature but has also shown the exceptional low magnetic damping of this material, making it one of the only known ferromagnetic and ferroelectric multiferroic with low damping.

Researchers observe a square lattice of merons and antimerons in a thin film helical magnet

Researchers from the RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science have managed for the first time to observe a square lattice of merons and antimerons - tiny magnetic vortices and antivortices. The magnetic merons (and antimerons) were formed in a thin plate of the helical magnet Co8Zn9Mn3.

The researchers were also able to induce a transformation between the square lattice of merons-antimerons and a hexagonal lattice of skyrmions, by finely varying a magnetic field applied perpendicularly to the thin film material.

MIT and BNL researchers demonstrate reversible “hydriding” of a heavy metal to electrically control magnetism

Researchers from MIT and the DoE Brookhaven National Laboratory designed a way to use hydrogen ions, drawn from airborne water molecules at room temperature, to electrically control magnetism in a thin magnetic film.

Water molecules - hydrogens ions, magnetic field switch image

The thin-film was made from cobalt, palladium and gadolinium oxide on a platinum base - and gold contacts. The hydrogen ions are used for reversible magneto-ionic switching in the thin film. This is the first time that scientists have demonstrated reversible “hydriding” of a heavy metal.

Intel's new MESO spintronics device architecture offers dramatic improvements over current CMOS devices

Researchers from Intel and the University of California in Berkeley developed a new scalable spintronics logic deice, which they magneto-electric spin-orbit (MESO) logic device that offers dramatic improvement over current CMOS technology.

MESO architecture, Intel & UCB

Intel says that MESO based logic, compared to CMOS, will offer a superior switching energy (by a factor of 10 to 30), lower switching voltage (by a factor of 5), an enhanced logic density (by a factor of 5) and ultra low standby power (due to the non-volatility of the spin-based device).

Researchers create a molecular spintronics switch

Researchers from the University of Würzburg managed to create a molecular spintronics switch, using a manganese phthalocyanine molecule. The researchers succeeded in manipulating this molecule using a special deposit and an electrical field to permanently take on two different states.

Molecular spintronics switch bismuth/ silver (Wurzburg)

This molecule cannot be normally switched, but the researchers managed to develop the switch by placing the molecule on metallic surface built from silver and bismuth atoms.

A new design that uses electrically-controlled Hydrogen ions is promising for next-generation spintronics devices

Researchers from MIT and the Brookhaven National Laboratory have demonstrated how the magnetic properties of thin-film materials can be controlled be using electrically-controlled hydrogen ions.

Hydrogen ions controlled by an electric voltage change the magnetic properties of an adjacent magnetic layer photo

The researchers say that this new mechanism is much faster and has many advantages over the current method using larger oxygen ions.The researchers have also demonstrated that the process produces no degradation of the material after more than 2,000 cycles. As the hydrogen ions are smaller, they can easily pass through metal layers, which allows to control properties of layers deep in a device that couldn't be controlled in any other way.

Researchers demonstrate strong tunability and suppression of the spin signal and spin lifetime in graphene-based heterostructures

Researchers from Europe developed heterostructures built from graphene and topological insulators and have shown the strong tunability and suppression of the spin signal and spin lifetime in these structures.

Graphene topological insulator heterostructure channel (SEM photo)

Associate Professor Saroj Prasad Dash from Chalmers University of Technology explains that the advantage of using heterostructures built from two Dirac materials is tha graphene in proximity with topological insulators still supports spin transport, and concurrently acquires a strong spin–orbit coupling.

Researchers say that ferrimagnets-based spintronics devices could be faster than ferromagnets ones

Researchers from MIT, the Max-Born Institute, Technische Universität Berlin and the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) say ferrimagnets-based spintronics devices could be faster than ferromagnets ones.

Pt/Co44Gd56 ferrimagnetic schematic

Ferromagnets are traditional magnets - such as iron. Ferrimagnets are materials that have two types of ions with magnetic moments that are not equal - and are also polarized in opposite directions.Using these two ion types could be used, according to the researchers, to create smaller bits in magnetic memory as these will allow faster domain wall dynamics to occur.