Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Spin structure reveals key to new forms of digital storage, study shows

Date:
June 7, 2012
Source:
RIKEN
Summary:
A synthetic compound long known to exhibit interesting transition properties may hold the key to new, non-magnetic forms of information storage, say researchers. The latest findings shed light on the complex relationship between a compound's electron spin arrangement and its transport properties, an area researchers have long struggled to understand.

"All-in" and "all-out" spin arrangements in an Os tetrahedron of Cd2Os2O7. Nonmagnetic Cd and O ions are omitted for simplicity.
Credit: Image courtesy of RIKEN

A synthetic compound long known to exhibit interesting transition properties may hold the key to new, non-magnetic forms of information storage, say researchers at the RIKEN SPring-8 Center and their collaborators. The team's latest findings shed light on the complex relationship between a compound's electron spin arrangement and its transport properties, an area researchers have long struggled to understand.

Related Articles


The metal-insulator transition (MIT) is a phenomenon in which certain (electricity-conducting) metals make a sudden transition to become a (non-conducting) insulator when cooled below a given temperature. Unlike pure insulators such as silicon and germanium, and pure conductors such as gold and silver, metals with MITs are by their nature unstable and difficult to characterize. This instability is also their strength: complex materials with MITs such as semiconductors form the building blocks for much of our modern technology.

Elucidating the physical basis for MIT, one of the oldest and least well-understood phenomena in condensed matter physics, would shed light on the electron transport properties of a wide range of potentially useful materials. Among these materials, the compound Cd2Os2O7, first discovered more than 30 years ago, has recently attracted renewed attention. Cd2Os2O7 has the intriguing property that when cooled to 227K (-46 C), it undergoes both a metal-insulator transition and a magnetic transition to a state in which all its electron spins are aligned. This spin alignment, which makes the material magnetic, is useful for a wide array of applications, notably information storage.

Previous efforts to elucidate this magnetic structure, however, have been complicated by another property of Cd2Os2O7: its propensity to absorb neutrons, which interferes with standard neutron scattering techniques used to analyze magnetism. To get around this problem, the researchers employed an alternative technique known as resonant x-ray scattering (RXS) using synchrotron radiation from the RIKEN SPring-8 facility, the world's most powerful synchrotron light source. Their results show that at 227K, Cd2Os2O7 structures itself into a tetrahedral network of osmium atoms with electron spins in each tetrahedron pointing in one of two directions: all inward, or all outward. The structure of this unusual "all-in-all-out" arrangement is such that the spins cancel each other out, so that the material as a whole is not magnetic.

Cd2Os2O7 thus has all the makings of a new kind of information storage medium, one whose binary bits of information ("all-in" and "all-out" spin arrangements) would, unlike present-day computer memory, be largely unaffected by surrounding magnetic fields. The results also provide fundamental insights into how electron spin can influence a material's transport properties, with broad applications in condensed matter physics.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. J. Yamaura, K. Ohgushi, H. Ohsumi, T. Hasegawa, I. Yamauchi, K. Sugimoto, S. Takeshita, A. Tokuda, M. Takata, M. Udagawa, M. Takigawa, H. Harima, T. Arima, and Z. Hiroi. Tetrahedral Magnetic Order and the Metal-Insulator Transition in the Pyrochlore Lattice of Cd2Os2O7. Physical Review Letters, 2012

Cite This Page:

RIKEN. "Spin structure reveals key to new forms of digital storage, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120607092707.htm>.
RIKEN. (2012, June 7). Spin structure reveals key to new forms of digital storage, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120607092707.htm
RIKEN. "Spin structure reveals key to new forms of digital storage, study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120607092707.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

AP (Mar. 31, 2015) Although she never had much interest in prosthetic limbs before, Faith Lennox couldn&apos;t wait to slip on her new robohand. The 7-year-old, who lost part of her left arm when she was a baby, grabbed it as soon as it came off a 3-D printer. (March 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dutch Architects Show Off 3D House-Building Prowess

Dutch Architects Show Off 3D House-Building Prowess

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) Dutch architects are constructing a 3D-printed canal-side home, which they hope will spark an environmental revolution in the house-building industry. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solar Plane Stops in China

Solar Plane Stops in China

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) Solar Impulse 2 stops over in China&apos;s Chonqing, completing the fifth leg in its bid to become the first solar powered plane to travel around the globe. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solar Impulse Lands in China After 20-Hour Flight from Myanmar

Solar Impulse Lands in China After 20-Hour Flight from Myanmar

AFP (Mar. 31, 2015) Solar Impulse 2 lands in China, the world&apos;s biggest carbon emitter, completing the fifth leg of its landmark global circumnavigation powered solely by the sun. Duration: 00:55 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