Catching electrons in motion in an antiferromagnetic nanowire

Catching electrons in action in an antiferromagnetic nanowire
Credit score: Michigan Technological College

The electron is likely one of the basic debris in nature we examine at school. Its conduct holds clues to new tactics to retailer virtual knowledge.

In a find out about printed in Nano Letters, physicists from Michigan Technological College discover selection fabrics to make stronger capability and shrink the dimensions of virtual knowledge garage applied sciences. Ranjit Pati, professor of physics at Michigan Tech, led the find out about and explains the physics in the back of his group’s new nanowire design.

“Because of a belongings referred to as spin, electrons behave like tiny magnets,” Pati stated. “Very similar to how a bar magnet’s magnetization is dipolar, pointing from south to north, the electrons in a subject material have magnetic dipole second vectors that describe the fabric’s magnetization.”

When those vectors are in random orientation, the fabric is nonmagnetic. When they’re parallel to one another, it is referred to as ferromagnetism and antiparallel alignments are antiferromagnetism. Present knowledge garage generation is according to ferromagnetic fabrics, the place the information are saved in small ferromagnetic domain names. That is why a robust sufficient magnet can reduce to rubble a cell phone or different digital garage.

Information Garage Demanding situations

Relying at the course of magnetization (whether or not pointing up or down), knowledge are recorded as bits (both a 1 or 0) in ferromagnetic domain names. On the other hand, there are two bottlenecks, and each hinge on proximity. First, convey an exterior magnet too shut, and its magnetic box may just modify the course of magnetic moments within the area and harm the garage instrument. And, 2d, the domain names each and every have a magnetic box of their very own, so they are able to’t be too shut to one another both. The problem with smaller, extra versatile, extra flexible electronics is they call for gadgets that make it more difficult to stay ferromagnetic domain names safely aside.

“Ultrahigh-density knowledge packing could be a frightening job with ferromagnetic reminiscence domain names,” Pati stated. “Antiferromagnetic fabrics, however, are unfastened from those problems.”

On their very own antiferromagnetic fabrics are not nice for digital gadgets, however they are no longer influenced by means of outdoor magnetic fields. This skill to withstand magnetic manipulation began getting extra consideration from the analysis neighborhood and Pati’s group used a predictive quantum many-body principle that considers electron-electron interactions. The group discovered that chromium-doped nanowires with a germanium core and silicon shell will also be an antiferromagnetic semiconductor.


A number of analysis teams have just lately demonstrated manipulation of particular person magnetic states in antiferromagnetic fabrics the usage of electric present and lasers. They noticed spin dynamics within the terahertz frequency—a lot sooner than the frequency utilized in our present knowledge garage gadgets. This statement has spread out a plethora of study pursuits in antiferromagnetism and may just result in sooner, higher-capacity knowledge garage.

“In our fresh paintings, we have now effectively harnessed the intriguing options of an antiferromagnet right into a low-dimensional, complementary metal-oxide appropriate semiconductor (CMOS) nanowire with out destroying the semiconducting belongings of the nanowire,” Pati stated. “This opens up probabilities for smaller and smarter electronics with greater capability knowledge garage and manipulation.”

Pati provides that probably the most thrilling a part of the analysis for his group was once uncovering the mechanism that dictates antiferromagnetism. The mechanism is named superexchange and it controls the spin of electrons and the antiparallel alignment that makes them antiferromagnetic. Within the group’s nanowire, germanium electrons act as a go-between, an exchanger, between unconnected chromium atoms.

“The interplay between the magnetic states of the chromium atoms is mediated by means of the intermediate atoms they’re bonded to. This can be a cooperative magnetic phenomenon,” Pati stated. “In a easy approach, allow us to say there are two folks A and B: They’re some distance aside and can not keep in touch without delay. However A has a pal C and B has a pal D. C and D are shut pals. So, A and B can have interaction not directly thru C and D.”

Higher figuring out how electrons keep in touch between atomic pals allows extra experiments to check the possibility of fabrics like chromium-doped nanowires. Higher figuring out the germanium-silicon nanowire subject material’s antiferromagnetic nature is what boosts attainable for smaller, smarter, greater capability electronics.

Additional information:
Sandip Aryal et al. Cr-Doped Ge-Core/Si-Shell Nanowire: An Antiferromagnetic Semiconductor, Nano Letters (2021). DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.0c04971

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Michigan Technological College

Catching electrons in motion in an antiferromagnetic nanowire (2021, March 16)
retrieved 22 March 2023

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