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Characterising materials to increase the understanding of spintronics for the next generation of electronics
Smaller, faster, and more efficient electronic devices are a vital part of Europe’s economic growth and industrial innovation, and could significantly contribute to its goal of a 20 % reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020. Spintronics, which uses a fundamental property, intrinsic spin, of electrons to process information in a way that is analogous to charge in traditional electronics, holds potential to meet such aims. Researchers have been exploring materials that have geometric structure which protect the configuration of electrons’ spin. These are known as topologically-protected spin structures (TSS), and could enable greater data storage and device efficiency. However, at the start of this project fundamental understanding and reliable characterisation tools for TSS were still lacking.
EMPIR project Metrology for topical spin structures (17FUN08, TOPS) has developed and validated measurement tools and techniques for describing TSS, helping to identify key parameters that determine the formation, size, and stability of TSS. By performing fundamental investigations on spintronics, the project has progressed TSS towards standardisation and thus supported Europe’s continuing expertise and competitiveness in electronic device manufacturing.
The research of the project has been published in a number of prestigious publications, including:
- Diameter-independent skyrmion Hall angle observed in chiral magnetic multilayers was published in Nature Communications
- Formation of Néel-type skyrmions in an antidot lattice with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy was published in Physical Review B
- Ferromagnetic Resonance with Magnetic Phase Selectivity by Means of Resonant Elastic X-Ray Scattering on a Chiral Magnet was published in Physical Review Letters
- Individual skyrmion manipulation by local magnetic field gradients was published in Communications Physics
- Spin structure relation to phase contrast imaging of isolated magnetic Bloch and Néel skyrmions was published in Ultramicroscopy
- Thermoelectric signature of individual skyrmions has been accepted for Physical Review Letters
In addition, in November 2019 two project members, Craig Barton from NPL and Katharina Zeissler from the University of Leeds, were invited to give presentations at the Conference on Magnetism and Magnetic Materials in Las Vegas, being one of the most prestigious magnetism conferences. This allowed an excellent opportunity to present an overview of the most recent work to a focused audience of approximately 100 people from science and industry.
Project Coordinator Mark Bieler from PTB said
‘This project is nicely highlighting the importance of metrology in basic science. On example is measurement of the Dzyaloshinskii-Moriya-Interaction (DMI) constant, which is responsible for the formation of TSS. Together with collaborators the project partners are currently performing a comparison of DMI measurements with the aim to publish guidelines on how to accurately measure the DMI’.
This EMPIR project is co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the EMPIR Participating States.
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