Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Good eggs: Nanomagnets offer food for thought about computer memories

Date:
April 28, 2011
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Summary:
Magnetics researchers colored lots of eggs recently. Bunnies might find the eggs a bit small, but these "eggcentric" nanomagnets have another practical use, suggesting strategies for making future low-power computer memories.

This is a collage of NIST "nano-eggs" -- simulated magnetic patterns in NIST's egg-shaped nanoscale magnets.
Credit: Talbott/NIST

Magnetics researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) colored lots of eggs recently. Bunnies and children might find the eggs a bit small -- in fact, too small to see without a microscope. But these "eggcentric" nanomagnets have another practical use, suggesting strategies for making future low-power computer memories.

Related Articles


For a study described in a new paper, NIST researchers used electron-beam lithography to make thousands of nickel-iron magnets, each about 200 nanometers (billionths of a meter) in diameter. Each magnet is ordinarily shaped like an ellipse, a slightly flattened circle. Researchers also made some magnets in three different egglike shapes with an increasingly pointy end. It's all part of NIST research on nanoscale magnetic materials, devices and measurement methods to support development of future magnetic data storage systems.

It turns out that even small distortions in magnet shape can lead to significant changes in magnetic properties. Researchers discovered this by probing the magnets with a laser and analyzing what happens to the "spins" of the electrons, a quantum property that's responsible for magnetic orientation. Changes in the spin orientation can propagate through the magnet like waves at different frequencies. The more egg-like the magnet, the more complex the wave patterns and their related frequencies. (Something similar happens when you toss a pebble in an asymmetrically shaped pond.) The shifts are most pronounced at the ends of the magnets.

To confirm localized magnetic effects and "color" the eggs, scientists made simulations of various magnets using NIST's object-oriented micromagnetic framework (OOMMF). Lighter colors indicate stronger frequency signals.

The egg effects explain erratic behavior observed in large arrays of nanomagnets, which may be imperfectly shaped by the lithography process. Such distortions can affect switching in magnetic devices. The egg study results may be useful in developing random-access memories (RAM) based on interactions between electron spins and magnetized surfaces. Spin-RAM is one approach to making future memories that could provide high-speed access to data while reducing processor power needs by storing data permanently in ever-smaller devices. Shaping magnets like eggs breaks up a symmetric frequency pattern found in ellipse structures and thus offers an opportunity to customize and control the switching process.

"For example, intentional patterning of egg-like distortions into spinRAM memory elements may facilitate more reliable switching," says NIST physicist Tom Silva, an author of the new paper.

"Also, this study has provided the Easter Bunny with an entirely new market for product development."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. H. Nembach, Justin Shaw, T. Silva, W. Johnson, S. Kim, R. McMichael, P. Kabos. Effects of shape distortions and imperfections on mode frequencies and collective linewidths in nanomagnets. Physical Review B, 2011; 83 (9) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.83.094427

Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Good eggs: Nanomagnets offer food for thought about computer memories." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110427101520.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). (2011, April 28). Good eggs: Nanomagnets offer food for thought about computer memories. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110427101520.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). "Good eggs: Nanomagnets offer food for thought about computer memories." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110427101520.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) What to buy an experienced photographer or video shooter? There is some strong gear on the market from Nikon and GoPro. The AP's Ron Harris takes a closer look. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) US President Barack Obama says that construction of the Keystone pipeline would have 'very little impact' on US gas prices and believes there are 'more direct ways' to create construction jobs. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
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