Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Magnets are chaotic -- and fast -- at the very smallest scale

Date:
March 18, 2013
Source:
Radboud University Nijmegen
Summary:
Using a new type of camera that makes extremely fast snapshots with an extremely high resolution, it is now possible to observe the behavior of magnetic materials at the nanoscale. This behavior is more chaotic than previously thought. The observed behavior changes our understanding of data storage, researchers say.

Using a new type of camera that makes extremely fast snapshots with an extremely high resolution, it is now possible to observe the behaviour of magnetic materials at the nanoscale. This behaviour is more chaotic than previously thought, as reported in Nature Materials on 17 March. The observed behaviour changes our understanding of data storage, says Theo Rasing, one of the authors of the article.

Surprisingly, it would seem that the chaotic behaviour of the magnetic material is highly significant as far as the transport of magnetic information at the smallest possible scale is concerned. This is the result of research carried out by Theo Rasing's group at Radboud University Nijmegen, with colleagues from Stanford, Berlin and Tokyo. Use was made of a very special measuring instrument -- the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) -- a unique X-ray laser at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Essentially, this X-ray laser is like a camera with both an extremely short shutter time of 100 femtoseconds (one tenth of a trillionth of a second) and an extremely high spatial resolution of a few nanometers (one billionth of a meter).

The measurements show that the magnetic material behaves completely different at the nanoscale than at the macroscale.

Nanoscale spin transport

Seen at the atomic scale, all magnets are made up of lots of small magnets, called spins. Magnetic switching for data storage involves reversing the magnetisation direction of the spins: a north pole becomes a south pole, and vice versa. The magnetic material in question contained two spin types from two different elements: iron (Fe) and gadolinium (Gd). The researchers observed that, at the nanoscale, the spins were unevenly distributed: there were areas with a higher than average amount of Fe and areas with a higher than average amount of Gd -- hence chaotic magnets.

It appears that magnetic switching starts with the ultrafast transport (~10nm/300fs) of spins between the Fe areas and the Gd areas, after which collisions result in the reversal. Such an ultrafast transfer of spin information has not yet been observed at such a small scale.

Future: smaller is faster

These results make it possible to develop ultrafast nanomagnets in the future in which spin transfer is further optimised through nanostructuring. This will open up pathways for even smaller and faster magnetic data storage.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. C. E. Graves, A. H. Reid, T. Wang, B. Wu, S. de Jong, K. Vahaplar, I. Radu, D. P. Bernstein, M. Messerschmidt, L. Müller, R. Coffee, M. Bionta, S. W. Epp, R. Hartmann, N. Kimmel, G. Hauser, A. Hartmann, P. Holl, H. Gorke, J. H. Mentink, A. Tsukamoto, A. Fognini, J. J. Turner, W. F. Schlotter, D. Rolles, H. Soltau, L. Strüder, Y. Acremann, A. V. Kimel, A. Kirilyuk, Th. Rasing, J. Stöhr, A. O. Scherz, H. A. Dürr. Nanoscale spin reversal by non-local angular momentum transfer following ultrafast laser excitation in ferrimagnetic GdFeCo. Nature Materials, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/NMAT3597

Cite This Page:

Radboud University Nijmegen. "Magnets are chaotic -- and fast -- at the very smallest scale." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130318132452.htm>.
Radboud University Nijmegen. (2013, March 18). Magnets are chaotic -- and fast -- at the very smallest scale. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130318132452.htm
Radboud University Nijmegen. "Magnets are chaotic -- and fast -- at the very smallest scale." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130318132452.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) — Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) — TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) — Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) — When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
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