New memory storage devices on horizon with award-winning work

Feb 16, 2006

A University of Houston student's award-winning research in solid state physics may one day provide faster, more efficient access to data, music and movies in such hand-held devices as MP3 players and cellular phones.

A third-year graduate student in physics at UH, Clarina dela Cruz recently captured first prize in the worldwide student competition of the 50th Magnetism and Magnetic Materials Conference. This event annually brings together scientists and engineers from the world over who are interested in recent developments in all branches of fundamental and applied magnetism. The student competition recognizes research excellence at the graduate level, with the winner receiving a $1,000 fellowship and facing stiff competition from such institutions as the University of Nijmegen (Netherlands), Stanford University and Johns Hopkins University.

"I considered it a major achievement simply to be chosen as one of the five finalists," dela Cruz said. "I did not expect to win the competition because of the strength of my competitors who attend very prestigious universities."

Working under the supervision of Paul C.W. Chu, the TLL Temple Chair of Science, physics professor and founding director of the Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston (TcSUH), dela Cruz began her own research on the magneto-electric effects in multiferroic compounds after joining Chu's High-Pressure Low-Temperature Group at TcSUH in January 2004. These new materials bear the potential for the future development of a new type of memory storage device and eventually may be found in any computer as a magneto-electric hard drive or for speeding up hand-held devices.

"Clarina is a highly motivated, bright student with an unusual experimental skill," Chu said. "This honor is a reflection of her dedication and hard work. In a very short period of time after joining our group, she has developed a high precision technique under the guidance of Professor Bernd Lorenz and obtained data that others cannot in the exciting emerging subfield of solid state physics – multiferroics. She can be very proud of her achievement."

As a student of Lorenz, the TcSUH research associate professor under whom dela Cruz is working, her understanding of solid state physics deepened significantly, and her interests quickly spread from superconductivity to magnetism and ferroelectricity – some of the most fundamental phenomena in condensed matter physics.

"The magneto-electric interaction present in these materials allows for a change of the electric polarization by an external magnetic field or the control of the magnetization using electric fields," said Lorenz. "This cross correlation of magnetic and electric properties provides the physical basis for future new developments in memory storage. In magneto-electric memory, media bytes will be written by magnetic write heads, as realized in any standard hard drive, but the stored information can be read electrically by detecting the subtle changes of the electric polarization induced in the magnetic write process."

Source: University of Houston

Explore further: Finding faster-than-light particles by weighing them

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Finding faster-than-light particles by weighing them

Dec 26, 2014

In a new paper accepted by the journal Astroparticle Physics, Robert Ehrlich, a recently retired physicist from George Mason University, claims that the neutrino is very likely a tachyon or faster-than-light par ...

Controlling core switching in Pac-man disks

Dec 24, 2014

Magnetic vortices in thin films can encode information in the perpendicular magnetization pointing up or down relative to the vortex core. These binary states could be useful for non-volatile data storage ...

World's most complex crystal simulated

Dec 24, 2014

The most complicated crystal structure ever produced in a computer simulation has been achieved by researchers at the University of Michigan. They say the findings help demonstrate how complexity can emerge ...

Atoms queue up for quantum computer networks

Dec 24, 2014

In order to develop future quantum computer networks, it is necessary to hold a known number of atoms and read them without them disappearing. To do this, researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute have developed ...

New video supports radiation dosimetry audits

Dec 23, 2014

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL), working with the National Radiotherapy Trials Quality Assurance Group, has produced a video guide to support physicists participating in radiation dosimetry audits.

User comments : 0

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.