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Switching magnetic domains in magnetic memory normally requires magnetic fields generated by electrical currents, hence requiring large amounts of electrical power. Now, teams from France, Spain and Germany have demonstrated the feasibility of another approach at the nanoscale: "We can induce magnetic order on a small region of our sample by employing a small electric field instead of using magnetic fields," Dr. Sergio Valencia, HZB, says.
The samples consist of a wedge-shaped polycrystalline iron thin film deposited on top of a BaTiO3 substrate. BaTiO3 is a well-known ferroelectric and ferroelastic material: An electric field is able to distort the BaTiO3 lattice and induce mechanical strain. Analysis by electron microscopy revealed that the iron film consists of tiny nanograins (diameter 2,5 nm). At its thin end, the iron film is less than 0.5 nm thick, allowing for low dimensionality of the nanograins. Given their small size, the magnetic moments of the iron nanograins are disordered with respect to each other, this state is known as superparamagnetism.
X-PEEM-Beamline - BESSY - II - Scientists - Order
At the X-PEEM-Beamline at BESSY II, the scientists analysed what happens with the magnetic order of these nanograins under a small electric field. "With X-PEEM we can map the magnetic order...
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