Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New classes of magnetoelectric materials promise advances in computing technology

Date:
February 7, 2013
Source:
DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
Summary:
Physicists have developed new methods for controlling magnetic order in a particular class of materials known as "magnetoelectrics."

An illustration of a titanium-europium oxide cage lattice studied in the experiment.
Credit: Image by Renee Carlson

Although scientists have been aware that magnetism and electricity are two sides of the same proverbial coin for almost 150 years, researchers are still trying to find new ways to use a material's electric behavior to influence its magnetic behavior, or vice versa.

Thanks to new research by an international team of researchers led by the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, physicists have developed new methods for controlling magnetic order in a particular class of materials known as "magnetoelectrics."

Magnetoelectrics get their name from the fact that their magnetic and electric properties are coupled to each other. Because this physical link potentially allows control of their magnetic behavior with an electrical signal or vice versa, scientists have taken a special interest in magnetoelectric materials.

"Electricity and magnetism are intrinsically coupled -- they're the same entity," said Philip Ryan, a physicist at Argonne's Advanced Photon Source. "Our research is designed to accentuate the coupling between the electric and magnetic parameters by subtly altering the structure of the material."

The Argonne-led team focused on the compound EuTiO3 (europium-titanium oxide), which has a simple atomic structure that suited it especially well to the experiment. The titanium atom sits in the middle of a cage constructed of the europium and oxygen atoms. By first compressing the cage through growing a thin film of EuTiO3 on a similar crystal with a smaller lattice and then applying a voltage, the titanium shifts slightly, electrically polarizing the system, and more importantly, changing the magnetic order of the material.

"The europium and the titanium combine to control the two properties," Ryan said. "The position of the titanium influences the electric behavior, while the europium generates the magnetic nature. There's a shared responsibility for the system's coupling behavior."

This new approach to cross-coupling magnetoelectricity could prove a key step toward the development of next-generation memory storage, improved magnetic field sensors, and many other applications long dreamed about. Unfortunately, scientists still have a ways to go to translating these findings into commercial devices.

Potential magnetic and electric memories each have a distinct appeal to researchers. Electric memories -- like the kind used into today's electronics -- allow computers to write data fast and very efficiently. Magnetic memories are less energy efficient, but are extraordinarily robust.

"The more we learn about magnetoelectrics, the more we open up this space that gives us the best of both worlds," Ryan said.

Because the electric and magnetic parameters in these particular materials are so strongly linked, engineers might also be able to use them in the future to create non-binary memories.

"Instead of having just a '0' or a '1,' you could have a broader range of different values," Ryan said. "A lot of people are looking into what that kind of logic would look like."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by DOE/Argonne National Laboratory. The original article was written by Jared Sagoff. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. P. J. Ryan, J-W Kim, T. Birol, P. Thompson, J-H. Lee, X. Ke, P. S. Normile, E. Karapetrova, P. Schiffer, S. D. Brown, C. J. Fennie, D. G. Schlom. Reversible control of magnetic interactions by electric field in a single-phase material. Nature Communications, 2013; 4: 1334 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2329

Cite This Page:

DOE/Argonne National Laboratory. "New classes of magnetoelectric materials promise advances in computing technology." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130207172117.htm>.
DOE/Argonne National Laboratory. (2013, February 7). New classes of magnetoelectric materials promise advances in computing technology. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130207172117.htm
DOE/Argonne National Laboratory. "New classes of magnetoelectric materials promise advances in computing technology." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130207172117.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Reuters - US Online Video (July 29, 2014) Passengers stuck overnight on a whale watching boat return safely to Boston. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

AFP (July 29, 2014) Coal mining is one of the major industries in Baluchistan but a lack of infrastructure and frequent accidents mean that the area has yet to hit its potential. Duration: 01:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

AP (July 29, 2014) The U.S. nuclear industry started building its first new plants using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and prevent the cost overruns that crippled the sector decades ago. So far, it's not working. (July 29) 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:
from the past week

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