Study Uncovers New Materials Interactions That Could Improve Data Storage – Science and Technology Research News


A close up reflection of an open hard disk disk.

A new study offers insight into multiferroic materials, which could have substantive ramifications in fields such as data storage.

The study took a look at lanthanum cobaltite (LaCoO3 or LCO), a thin crystalline movie that, when grown on a substrate, can be examined through electron microscopy and polarized neutron reflectometry to determine electron density and distinctions in magnetization, respectively.

LCO is unique since it is a ferroelastic product, suggesting that its residential or commercial properties will alter in action to a stress factor and keep the modifications after the stress factor has actually been gotten rid of.

An ultrathin movie of LCO—one whose density has to do with 12 nanometers, or 12 thousand-millionths of a meter—is particularly distinct since it is likewise a ferromagnet. The mix of being ferroelastic and a ferromagnet suggests ultrathin LCO is a multiferroic—a product with flexible and magnetic residential or commercial properties that can alter under tension or by electromagnetic fields. This suggests the product could, in concept, record the tension of its environment as magnetic info.

“An important finding was that by growing the LCO films on chemically different substrates, or bases, we could change the magnetic properties of the film,” stated Michael Fitzsimmons, a joint physics teacher at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Oak Ridge National Lab and leader of the Thin Movies and Nanostructures Group in ORNL’s Neutron Scattering Department. Having the ability to quickly control a compound’s ferromagnetic residential or commercial properties is a crucial action in producing gadgets that need less energy to run. When it comes to LCO, the connection in between its ferroelastic and ferromagnetic residential or commercial properties would considerably reduce the quantity of energy presently needed by existing magnetic technology.

“An example is a magnetic read head, a piece used in digital storage units,” Fitzsimmons stated. “A magnetic field changes the alignment of a small region of magnetic material—its direction represents some information.” This kind of electromagnetic field is produced by a present pulse, which takes a substantial quantity of energy.

“If instead we could change the direction of magnetization by applying electric charge without passing current, then we wouldn’t need so much energy,” Fitzsimmons stated.

“One aim is to create devices that can do new things like sense light, chemical composition, magnetic fields, or heat, or manipulate and store data in compact objects that do not require much energy to operate.”

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