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.
More Physics News and Physics 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

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...