Scientists Discover Ordered Patterns in Disordered Magnetic Material


Scientists discovered ordered patterns in disordered magnetic material, according to a study published on June 8, 2018.

This study was conducted by the scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. They found a special property known as chirality in samples of multilayer disordered materials. In this study, scientists are looking for new methods to revolutionize electronics by designing materials and methods to control other inherent electron traits. Such properties are expected to enable faster and reliable data storage by facilitating spintronics.

The samples that were composed of an amorphous alloy of gadolinium and cobalt were sandwiched between ultrathin layers of platinum and iridium. Silicon wafers based on a crystalline form of silicon were used in modern computer circuits. The atomic structure of the materials used in this study was disordered, as the materials were amorphous. A dominant chirality was found in the magnetic properties of these domain walls through the results of the experiment.

Scientists were trying to identify the right thickness, concentration, and layering of elements, and other factors that would aid in optimizing the chiral effect. Although amorphous materials have disordered structure, it can be manufactured to overcome some of the limitations of crystalline materials as well. Furthermore, scientists enlisted a unique, high-resolution electron microscopy technique at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry. This was done to conduct experiments in a so-called Lorentz observation mode to image the magnetic properties of the material samples. The results obtained using this technique was combined with the results of an X-ray technique known as magnetic circular dichroism spectroscopy to confirm the nanoscale magnetic chirality in the samples.

Peter Fischer, a co-leader of the study said, “Our next step is therefore to go into the dynamics of the chirality of these domain walls in an amorphous system: to image these domain walls while they are moving, and to see how atoms are assembled together.”


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