Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Magnet for fast and cheap data storage invented

Date:
March 3, 2014
Source:
Radboud University Nijmegen
Summary:
Physicists have come up with a new synthetic material for optical data storage. Optical data storage does not require expensive magnetic materials as synthetic alternatives work just as well. The team's discovery brings the much cheaper method for storing data using light a step closer.

Left: in a ferrimagnet, there are an equal number of spins in the up and in the down directions, but the magnitudes of the spins vary. The result is net magnetisation. Right: the synthetic ferrimagnet is made of two very thin layers of iron with a connecting layer in between. In the iron layers, all the spins have the same direction and magnitude. By combining layers with different magnetisation directions and different thicknesses, it is nevertheless possible to create net magnetisation.
Credit: Image courtesy of Radboud University Nijmegen

Professor Rasing, physicist at Radboud University Nijmegen, came up with a new synthetic material for optical data storage.

Related Articles


Optical data storage does not require expensive magnetic materials as synthetic alternatives work just as well. This is the finding of an international team from York, Berlin and Nijmegen, published Thursday February 27 in Applied Physics Letters. The team's discovery brings the much cheaper method for storing data using light a step closer. It was Professor Rasing, physicist at Radboud University Nijmegen and FOM workgroup leader, who came up with the new synthetic material.

When you store a file on your laptop or PC, the computer creates a code consisting of zeros and ones. These are actually tiny magnetic poles (spins) that can point in one of two directions: the 'zero' state or the 'one' state. Switching these spins using a magnetic field is a relatively slow, energy-intensive process. An alternative is to switch them using light, which was first achieved by Radboud researchers six years ago. They have been searching for suitable materials ever since. Theo Rasing: 'Optical switching is only possible in special magnets, called ferrimagnets. However, these magnets are made of expensive rare earth metals, which are also difficult to produce at the nano-scale. Now, we have shown for the first time that it is also possible to switch synthetic ferrimagnets optically.'

Other than with normal ferrimagnets, the production of synthetic ferrimagnets does not require the use of rare earth metals. This makes them cheaper and better for the environment, and therefore more suitable for use in computers. Rasing: 'I really believe that this is the start of a fundamentally new form of data storage, and possibly data processing too.'

Ferrimagnets

Ferrimagnets have the unusual property that the spins are not all of the same magnitude. 'They are similar to anti-ferromagnets, in which the spins are found in pairs with opposite directions. However, because the magnetic poles have different magnitudes, ferrimagnets have a net magnetic moment,' explains Rasing. This can be simulated by anti-ferromagnetically coupling thin layers of iron with a spacer layer. 'The iron is ferromagnetic -- all the spins have the same magnitude and direction. It is therefore possible to create a net magnetic moment by combining two layers of different thicknesses and opposing magnetisation directions, for example. Coupling the spins works in a very similar manner, in the same two-step process that we previously developed for the normal ferrimagnets.'

When Rasing came up with his concept for the synthetic magnet, he immediately contacted a group in York that could model the switching process. Rasing: 'Their model showed that it really did work, and so we applied for a joint patent. It immediately became a hot topic, and there are already groups in San Diego, France and Germany working on actually producing and testing the synthetic ferrimagnets. International cooperation is therefore essential, and I expect the combination of theory, modelling and experimentation in the various groups to bear much more fruit in the coming years.'


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. Richard F. L. Evans, Thomas A. Ostler, Roy W. Chantrell, Ilie Radu, Theo Rasing. Ultrafast thermally induced magnetic switching in synthetic ferrimagnets. Applied Physics Letters, 2014; 104 (8): 082410 DOI: 10.1063/1.4867015

Cite This Page:

Radboud University Nijmegen. "Magnet for fast and cheap data storage invented." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140303103748.htm>.
Radboud University Nijmegen. (2014, March 3). Magnet for fast and cheap data storage invented. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140303103748.htm
Radboud University Nijmegen. "Magnet for fast and cheap data storage invented." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140303103748.htm (accessed December 17, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Jaguar Unveils 360° Virtual Windshield Making Car Pillars Appear Transparent

Jaguar Unveils 360° Virtual Windshield Making Car Pillars Appear Transparent

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) — Jaguar unveils a virtual 360 degree windshield that may be the most futuristic automotive development yet. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
BlackBerry Launches Classic Smartphone

BlackBerry Launches Classic Smartphone

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) — BlackBerry is returning to its roots with a new smartphone called the Classic, featuring a traditional keyboard at a time when rival Apple and Android phones - and most smartphone customers - have embraced touch screens. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Future of Work, Skills & Careers in a Digital World-Dr. Tracy Wilen

The Future of Work, Skills & Careers in a Digital World-Dr. Tracy Wilen

Working Mother (Dec. 16, 2014) — 2014 Worklife Congress Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tech Companies Make Holiday Shopping Easier Than Ever

Tech Companies Make Holiday Shopping Easier Than Ever

Newsy (Dec. 16, 2014) — Innovative new services allow consumers to shop with their smartphones, split bills and even haggle. Video provided by Newsy
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