Nav: Home

2D insulators with ferromagnetism are rare; researchers just identified a new one

May 10, 2019

Collaborating scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Princeton University have discovered a new layered ferromagnetic semiconductor, a rare type of material that holds great promise for next-generation electronic technologies.

As the name implies, semiconductors are the Goldilocks of electrically conductive materials-- not a metal, and not an insulator, but a "just-right" in-between whose conducting properties can be altered and customized in ways that create the basis for the world's modern electronic capabilities. Especially rare are the ones closer to an insulator than to a metal.

The recent discovery of ferromagnetism in semiconducting materials has been limited to a handful of mostly chromium-based compounds. But here, the researchers discovered ferromagnetism in a vanadium-iodine semiconductor, a material which has long been known but ignored; and which scientist Tai Kong compared to finding a "hidden treasure in our own backyard." Now a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Robert J. Cava, the Russell Wellman Moore Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University, Kong completed PhD research at the Ames Laboratory under supervision of Paul C. Canfield. And when new material could have ferromagnetic response, Kong turned to Ames Laboratory for the magneto-optical visualization of magnetic domains that serves as the definitive proof of ferromagnetism.

"Being able to exfoliate these materials down into 2D layers gives us new opportunities to find unusual properties that are potentially useful to electronic technology advances," said Kong. "It's sort of like getting a new shape of Lego bricks. The more unique pieces you have, the cooler the stuff you can build."

The advantage of ferromagnetism in a semiconductor is that electronic properties become spin-dependent. Electrons align their spins along internal magnetization.

"This creates an additional control knob to manipulate currents flowing through a semiconductor by manipulating magnetization, either by changing the magnetic field or by other more complex means, while the amount of current that can be carried may be controlled by doping (adding small amount of other materials)," said Ames Laboratory Scientist Ruslan Prozorov. "These additional ways to control behavior and the potential to discover novel effects are the reason for such high interest in finding insulators and semiconductors that are also ferromagnets."

The research is further discussed in the paper, "VI3--a New Layered Ferromagnetic Semiconductor," authored by Tai Kong, Karoline Stolze, Erik I. Timmons, Jing Tao, Danrui Ni, Shu Guo, Zoë Yang, Ruslan Prozorov, and Robert J. Cava; and featured on the back cover of Advanced Materials.
-end-
Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science national laboratory operated by Iowa State University. Ames Laboratory creates innovative materials, technologies and energy solutions. We use our expertise, unique capabilities and interdisciplinary collaborations to solve global problems.

DOE's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

DOE/Ames Laboratory

Related Magnetic Field Articles:

Understanding stars: How tornado-shaped flow in a dynamo strengthens the magnetic field
A new simulation based on the von-Kármán-Sodium (VKS) dynamo experiment takes a closer look at how the liquid vortex created by the device generates a magnetic field.
'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field
Scientists at the Earth-Life Science Institute at the Tokyo Institute of Technology report in Nature (Fen.
Brightest neutron star yet has a multipolar magnetic field
Scientists have identified a neutron star that is consuming material so fast it emits more x-rays than any other.
Confirmation of Wendelstein 7-X magnetic field
Physicist Sam Lazerson of the US Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory has teamed with German scientists to confirm that the Wendelstein 7-X fusion energy device called a stellarator in Greifswald, Germany, produces high-quality magnetic fields that are consistent with their complex design.
High-precision magnetic field sensing
Scientists have developed a highly sensitive sensor to detect tiny changes in strong magnetic fields.
More Magnetic Field News and Magnetic Field Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#534 Bacteria are Coming for Your OJ
What makes breakfast, breakfast? Well, according to every movie and TV show we've ever seen, a big glass of orange juice is basically required. But our morning grapefruit might be in danger. Why? Citrus greening, a bacteria carried by a bug, has infected 90% of the citrus groves in Florida. It's coming for your OJ. We'll talk with University of Maryland plant virologist Anne Simon about ways to stop the citrus killer, and with science writer and journalist Maryn McKenna about why throwing antibiotics at the problem is probably not the solution. Related links: A Review of the Citrus Greening...