A Swedish research team has successfully created a magnetic soliton – a spin torque-generated nano-droplet that could lead to technological innovation in such areas as mobile telecommunications.
First theorized 35 years ago, the magnetic nano-droplet was created in a modified spintronic oscillator by a team from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and the University of Gothenburg. The breakthrough was published in the March 15 issue of Science.
Johan Åkerman, a professor in the Department of Physics, Gothenburg University, and associated guest researcher at KTH, is presenting the findings this week at the American Physical Society's March Meeting in Baltimore. Åkerman says that as early as 2010, the team began to modify spintronic oscillators in order to prove that magnetic nano-droplets exist.
The results of the research, which has been ongoing for two years, have been patented by the research team. Majid Mohseni, a researcher at KTH who defended the team research in December 2012, says that the findings could have significant impact.
"This will open up completely new possibilities in nano-magnetism and spintronics. Magnetic nano-droplets have great potential to translate into different applications," Mohseni says.
In mobile telecommunications, magnetic nano-droplets present opportunities to replace microwave technology, such as mobile phones and wireless networks, with much smaller, less expensive and more resource-efficient components.
Solitons, or solitary waves that behave like particles and retain their shape when moving at a constant speed, have been used for long distance, high speed information transmission. Scientists have long believed that they exist in magnetic environments, but until now they had never been observed.
The droplets take up a space of about 50 to 100 nanometers on a piece of magnetic film. At their centre, magnetization points towards the opposite direction, both against the surrounding spin (a quantum physical property) and the applied magnetic field.
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More information: Spin Torque–Generated Magnetic Droplet Solitons, Science 15 March 2013: Vol. 339 no. 6125 pp. 1295-1298 DOI: 10.1126/science.1230155