Nav: Home

Pressure tuned magnetism paves the way for novel electronic devices

December 17, 2018

Advances in the technology of material growth allow fabricating sandwiches of materials with atomic precision. The interface between the two materials can sometimes exhibit physical phenomena which do not exist in both parent materials. For example, a magnetic interface found between two non-magnetic materials. A new discovery, published today in Nature Physics, shows a new way of controlling this emergent magnetism which may be the basis for new types of magnetic electronic devices.

Using very sensitive magnetic probes, an international team of researchers led by Prof. Beena Kalisky, of Bar-Ilan University's Department of Physics and Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA), has found surprising evidence that magnetism which emerges at the interfaces between non-magnetic oxide thin layers can be easily tuned by exerting tiny mechanical forces. The team also includes Prof. Lior Klein, of Bar-Ilan's Department of Physics and BINA, and researchers from DTU (Denmark) and Stanford University (USA).

Magnetism already plays a central role in storing the increasing amount of data produced by humanity. Much of our data storage today is based on tiny magnets crammed into our memory drive. One of the promising means in the race to improve memory, in terms of quantity and speed, is the use of smaller magnets. Until today the size of memory cells can be as small as a few tens of nanometers -- almost a millionth of the width of a strand of hair! Further reduction in size is challenging in three main respects: the stability of the magnetic cell, the ability to read it, and the ability to write into it without affecting its neighboring cells. This recent discovery provides a new and unexpected handle to control magnetism, thus enabling denser magnetic memory.

These oxide interfaces combine a number of interesting physical phenomena, such as two-dimensional conductance and superconductivity. "Coexistence of physical phenomena is fascinating because they do not always go hand in hand. Magnetism and superconductivity, for example, are not expected to coexist," says Kalisky. "The magnetism we saw did not extend throughout the material but appeared in well-defined areas dominated by the structure of the materials. Surprisingly, we discovered that the strength of magnetism can be controlled by applying pressure to the material".

Coexistence between magnetism and conductivity has great technological potential. For example, magnetic fields can affect the current flow in certain materials and, by manipulating magnetism, we can control the electrical behavior of electronic devices. An entire field called Spintronics is dedicated to this subject. The discovery that tiny mechanical pressures can effectively tune the emerging magnetism at the studied interfaces opens new and unexpected routes for developing novel oxide-based spintronic devices.
-end-


Bar-Ilan University

Related Physics Articles:

Diamonds coupled using quantum physics
Researchers at TU Wien have succeeded in coupling the specific defects in two such diamonds with one another.
The physics of wealth inequality
A Duke engineering professor has proposed an explanation for why the income disparity in America between the rich and poor continues to grow.
Physics can predict wealth inequality
The 2016 election year highlighted the growing problem of wealth inequality and finding ways to help the people who are falling behind.
Physics: Toward a practical nuclear pendulum
Researchers from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) Munich have, for the first time, measured the lifetime of an excited state in the nucleus of an unstable element.
Flowers use physics to attract pollinators
A new review indicates that flowers may be able to manipulate the laws of physics, by playing with light, using mechanical tricks, and harnessing electrostatic forces to attract pollinators.
Physics, photosynthesis and solar cells
A University of California, Riverside assistant professor has combined photosynthesis and physics to make a key discovery that could help make solar cells more efficient.
2-D physics
Physicist Andrea Young receives a 2016 Packard Fellowship to pursue his studies of van der Waals heterostructures.
Cats seem to grasp the laws of physics
Cats understand the principle of cause and effect as well as some elements of physics.
Plasma physics' giant leap
For the first time, scientists are looking at real data -- not computer models, but direct observation -- about what is happening in the fascinating region where the Earth's magnetic field breaks and then joins with the interplanetary magnetic field.
Nuclear physics' interdisciplinary progress
The theoretical view of the structure of the atom nucleus is not carved in stone.

Related Physics Reading:

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

Moving Forward
When the life you've built slips out of your grasp, you're often told it's best to move on. But is that true? Instead of forgetting the past, TED speakers describe how we can move forward with it. Guests include writers Nora McInerny and Suleika Jaouad, and human rights advocate Lindy Lou Isonhood.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...