Einstein in an iron crystal

December 21, 2016, Forschungszentrum Juelich
Angle-resolved photoemission spectra of an iron sample dependent on the direction of magnetization. Copyright: Forschungszentrum Jülich

Tiny relativistic effects form the basis of the functionalities in modern technology, as exemplified in magnetic hard disks and data storage media. Now for the first time, scientists have directly observed features in an electronic structure that could not be seen previously.

Angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy has enabled scientists from Forschungszentrum Jülich and LMU Munich to directly visualize the formation of shifts in the band structure (band gaps) of a sample of prototypical magnetic material as a response to the change in direction of a magnetic field.

These gaps in the energy levels of electrons in the iron sample occur in keeping with Einstein's theory of relativity, as electrons flowing through a crystal sample can "sense" the direction of the .

In spintronic components that utilize the spin of electrons, these band gaps control the direction of the magnetization and the conductivity. With the help of such methods, the task of designing materials for spintronic applications could soon be made much easier.

Explore further: Tortoise electrons trying to catch up with hare photons give graphene its conductivity

More information: E. Młyńczak et al. Fermi Surface Manipulation by External Magnetic Field Demonstrated for a Prototypical Ferromagnet, Physical Review X (2016). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevX.6.041048

Related Stories

Iron-nitrogen compound forms strongest magnet known

March 22, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A group of scientists from the University of Minnesota say that Fe16N2 crystals are more magnetic than the most magnetic material previously known, and its magnetism exceeds the predicted limit of magnetism ...

Spinning better electronic devices

March 2, 2016

A team of researchers, led by a group at the University of California, Riverside, have demonstrated for the first time the transmission of electrical signals through insulators in a sandwich-like structure, a development ...

Recommended for you

ATLAS experiment observes light scattering off light

March 20, 2019

Light-by-light scattering is a very rare phenomenon in which two photons interact, producing another pair of photons. This process was among the earliest predictions of quantum electrodynamics (QED), the quantum theory of ...

How heavy elements come about in the universe

March 19, 2019

Heavy elements are produced during stellar explosion or on the surfaces of neutron stars through the capture of hydrogen nuclei (protons). This occurs at extremely high temperatures, but at relatively low energies. An international ...

Trembling aspen leaves could save future Mars rovers

March 18, 2019

Researchers at the University of Warwick have been inspired by the unique movement of trembling aspen leaves, to devise an energy harvesting mechanism that could power weather sensors in hostile environments and could even ...

Quantum sensing method measures minuscule magnetic fields

March 15, 2019

A new way of measuring atomic-scale magnetic fields with great precision, not only up and down but sideways as well, has been developed by researchers at MIT. The new tool could be useful in applications as diverse as mapping ...

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.