Magnetic spin on non-magnetic materials

Feb 14, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- Nanotechnologists from the University of Twente's MESA+ and MIRA research institutes have developed a method for incorporating magnetic elements into non-magnetic materials in a highly controlled way. Using this technique, it is possible to drastically change the electrical behaviour of metals and even to give semiconductors magnetic properties. The results have been published in leading scientific journal Nature Nanotechnology.

University of Twente researchers were able to incorporate magnetic elements into a non-magnetic layer of gold in a highly controlled manner. They did so by coating the gold layer with a single layer of , each containing a single metal ion: some containing cobalt and some containing zinc. The cobalt ions have an unpaired and therefore behave as an elementary magnet, while zinc ions do not have magnetic properties. By adjusting the relative concentration of cobalt and , it is possible to fine tune the magnetic properties of the final material. Molecular self-assembly causes the metal compounds to spread homogenously over the layer of gold.

What makes the method so special is that it produces unprecedentedly high concentrations of magnetic "doping" without causing the magnetic elements to cluster. In the methods used to date, it was very difficult to spread the magnetic elements homogenously over the final material, particularly at high concentrations.

Using the method developed at the University of Twente, it is possible to create materials with completely new properties. This paves the way for semiconductors with : one of the holy grails of physics. Semiconductors of this kind could be used for both (magnetic) and data processing (electrical) in a new generation of computers.

Explore further: In-situ nanoindentation study of phase transformation in magnetic shape memory alloys

More information: The method is described in an article entitled 'Tunable doping of a metal with molecular spins', which appears in the April issue of Nature Nanotechnology (doi:10.1038/nnano.2012.1 )

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Creating Highly Sought Magnetic Nanoparticles in One Step

May 02, 2008

Researchers from the University of Minnesota have demonstrated a one-step technique for producing a class of magnetic nanoparticles that could be used in everything from biomedical applications to data storage. ...

Half-a-loaf method can improve magnetic memories

Aug 24, 2010

Chinese scientists have shown that magnetic memory, logic and sensor cells can be made faster and more energy efficient by using an electric, not magnetic, field to flip the magnetization of the sensing layer only about halfway, ...

Sought-after magnetic properties in common alloy

Nov 04, 2011

In a paper published Nov. 2 in Nature Communications, a team of researchers led by University of Maryland's Ichiro Takeuchi, in collaboration with Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource's Apurva Mehta, reported the di ...

Novel magnets made from the strongest known hydrogen bond

Dec 06, 2006

A team of scientists from the US, the UK and Germany has been the first to make a magnetic material constructed from nature's strongest known hydrogen bond. Hydrogen bonds are responsible for many of the properties ...

Recommended for you

'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Ever-shrinking electronic devices could get down to atomic dimensions with the help of transition metal oxides, a class of materials that seems to have it all: superconductivity, magnetoresistance ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

'Exotic' material is like a switch when super thin

(Phys.org) —Ever-shrinking electronic devices could get down to atomic dimensions with the help of transition metal oxides, a class of materials that seems to have it all: superconductivity, magnetoresistance ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...