Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Use Microscope To View Magnetism At Atomic Level

Date:
November 8, 2002
Source:
Ohio University
Summary:
Scientists and engineers build the transistors that run televisions, radios and similar electronic devices based on the moving electric charges of electrons. But the electron also has another key property: a magnetic "spin" that scientists believe could be exploited to develop faster, smaller and more efficient devices.

ATHENS, Ohio – Scientists and engineers build the transistors that run televisions, radios and similar electronic devices based on the moving electric charges of electrons. But the electron also has another key property: a magnetic "spin" that scientists believe could be exploited to develop faster, smaller and more efficient devices.

Related Articles


The first step is to determine the magnetic properties of materials that could be used to create futuristic nanoscale devices, a task that has escaped scientists until now. But research published online November 6 in the journal Physical Review Letters by a team of Ohio University physicists details a technique for measuring magnetism at the atomic scale using a scanning tunneling microscope.

Physicists Arthur Smith and Haiqiang Yang employed the high-powered microscope to explore the magnetic properties of a new crystalline compound comprised of manganese and nitrogen, which has potential use in future electronic or magnetic devices.

"It's the best technique we have for measuring magnetic structure at the atomic scale," said Smith, whose project is funded by the National Science Foundation.

In a device that employs both electronics and "spintronics," a thin layer of magnetic material would be added to conventional electronics to improve performance. Possible applications include a spintronics LED for computer screens, more powerful hard drives and the quantum computer, which could make it possible to perform certain types of complex calculations which would be virtually impossible using conventional computers, said Smith, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy.

"These devices are so rare, so far in the future, that people have only begun to think about what to use them for," he said.

One obstacle scientists face is making the scientific process behind such experimental devices work at room temperature. Current devices work at cold temperatures, typically at or below minus 320 degrees Fahrenheit.

Smith and Yang, a postdoctoral researcher at Ohio University, have been studying the properties of the crystalline compound of manganese and nitrogen for two years, as it has the potential to function at room temperature, Yang said. In the recent experiment, the scientists coated the tip of a needle with magnetized atoms. Then, using it in their microscope like the needle of a record player to "read" the recorded information of a tiny surface area, they observed the magnetic poles of some rows of atoms pointing in one direction, and the poles of other rows of atoms pointing in the opposite direction. On non-magnetic surfaces, the atoms do not have oriented magnetic poles.

Other scientists have had little success using other techniques – which are too indirect or lack the necessary sensitivity -- to image magnetic spin at the atomic level. This suggests that the spin-polarized scanning tunneling microscope holds promise for research in this area, Smith said.

"Our paper provides new evidence that this technique works and that it's a very important technique for nanotechnology," he said.

Nanomagnetism is a growing area of nanotechnology, Smith said, and scientists in the field expect to begin building nanoscale magnetic structures in the next two years. Now that the physicists have been able to measure spin at the nanoscale, Yang added, they also hope to use the scanning tunneling microscope to modify the surface of magnetic compounds.

Collaborators on the paper are Margarita Prikhodko and Walter Lambrecht of Case Western Reserve University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio University. "Scientists Use Microscope To View Magnetism At Atomic Level." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 November 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/11/021107074340.htm>.
Ohio University. (2002, November 8). Scientists Use Microscope To View Magnetism At Atomic Level. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/11/021107074340.htm
Ohio University. "Scientists Use Microscope To View Magnetism At Atomic Level." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/11/021107074340.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Inspectors Found Faulty Work Before NYC Blast

Inspectors Found Faulty Work Before NYC Blast

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) An hour before an apparent gas explosion sent flames soaring and debris flying at a Manhattan apartment building, injuring 19 people, utility company inspectors decided the work being done there was faulty. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Facebook Building Plane-Sized Drones For Global Internet

Facebook Building Plane-Sized Drones For Global Internet

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) Facebook on Thursday revealed more details about its Internet-connected drone project. The drone is bigger than a 737, but lighter than a car. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Robot Returns from International Space Station and Sets Two Guinness World Records

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 27, 2015) The companion robot "Kirobo" returns to earth from the International Space Station and sets two Guinness World Records. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Witness Building Explosion, Collapse

Residents Witness Building Explosion, Collapse

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) Witnesses recount the sites and sounds of a massive explosion and subsequent building collapse in the heart of Manhattan&apos;s trendy East Village on Thursday. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins