CNST offers insights into metallic ferromagnetism using spin polarized electron probes

June 16, 2011

The Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology's Daniel Pierce has provided an overview of three decades of applications of spin-polarized measurement techniques to understanding metallic ferromagnetism.

His insights were published in the in an invited paper for the Magnetism and Magnetic Materials Conference.

The ferromagnetic metals, Fe, Co, Ni, and their alloys dominate technological applications, particularly in electronics and .

Because the ordering of electron spins is at the heart of ferromagnetism, probes that give information about electron spin states have proven particularly useful.

For example, spin polarized photoemission and inverse photoemission spectroscopy have revealed spin-dependent electronic structure, providing excellent tests of spin-dependent band structure calculations.

Measurements of the spin dependence of the electron mean free path have demonstrated the spin filtering effect of ferromagnetic layers used in solid state spintronic devices designed to manipulate spin-polarized currents.

The development of new detectors has facilitated the development of powerful techniques such as with Polarization Analysis (SEMPA), which measures the properties of magnetic nanostructures and has greatly enhanced the understanding of coupling between magnetic multilayers.

Pierce, a NIST Fellow, Emeritus who has worked at NIST (then NBS) since 1975, remains actively engaged in SEMPA measurements in the CNST Electron Physics Group.

Explore further: Detecting the spin of a single electron in a standard silicon transistor

More information: Perspective on probing metallic ferromagnetism with electrons, D. T. Pierce, Journal of Applied Physics 109, 07E106 (2011). doi:10.1063/1.3537960

Related Stories

Spin-polarized electrons on demand

January 15, 2009

Many hopes are pinned on spintronics. In the future it could replace electronics, which in the race to produce increasingly rapid computer components, must at sometime reach its limits. Different from electronics, where whole ...

Spin-polarized electrons on demand

January 21, 2009

Many hopes are pinned on spintronics. In the future it could replace electronics, which in the race to produce increasingly rapid computer components, must at sometime reach its limits. Different from electronics, where whole ...

Graphene and 'spintronics' combo looks promising

January 25, 2011

A team of physicists has taken a big step toward the development of useful graphene spintronic devices. The physicists, from the City University of Hong Kong and the University of Science and Technology of China, present ...

Recommended for you

Seeing quantum motion

August 28, 2015

Consider the pendulum of a grandfather clock. If you forget to wind it, you will eventually find the pendulum at rest, unmoving. However, this simple observation is only valid at the level of classical physics—the laws ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.