In part the excitement is driven by predictions that the magnetic moments of electrons -- known as "spins" -- would no longer be able to align in perfectly clean systems. This enhancement in the strengths of the excitations could unleash numerous new states of mater, and enable novel forms of quantum computing.
A key challenge has been the successful fabrication of perfectly clean systems and their incorporation with other materials. However, for more than a decade, materials known as "van der Waals" crystals, held together by friction, have been used to isolate single-atom-thick layers leading to numerous new physical effects and applications.
Class - Materials - Platforms - Efforts - Phases
Recently this class has been expanded to include magnetic materials, and it may offer one of the most ambitious platforms yet in scientific efforts to investigate and manipulate phases of matter at the nanoscale, researchers from Boston College, the University of Tennessee, and Seoul National University, write in the latest edition of the journal Nature.
Two-dimensional magnetism, the subject of theoretical explorations and experimentation for the past 80 years, is enjoying a resurgence thanks to a group of materials and compounds that are relatively plentiful and easy to manipulate, according to Boston College Associate Professor of Physics Kenneth Burch, a first author of the article "'Magnetism in two-dimensional van der Waals materials."
Example - Materials - Crystal - Layers - Procedure
The most oft-cited example of these materials is graphene, a crystal constructed in uniform, atom-thick layers. A procedure as simple as applying a piece of scotch tape to the crystal can remove a single layer, providing a thin, uniform section to serve as a platform to create novel materials with a range of physical properties open to manipulation.
"What's amazing about these 2-D materials is they're so flexible," said Burch. "Because they are so flexible, they give you this huge array of possibilities. You can make combinations you could not dream...
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