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Scientists Create New Tool to Study Emerging Materials for Spintronics

Scientists Create New Tool to Study Emerging Materials for Spintronics

As traditional electronics begin to reach their physical limits of compactness and speed, scientists and engineers are looking for new ways to stay on track with Moore's Law. One possible solution is to develop spintronics, devices that use a property of electrons known as spin to represent the 0's and 1's in computers. A class of materials called topological insulators (TIs) might have the right properties for spintronics, but since they were discovered less than a decade ago, scientists still know little about their properties.

Now a team of researchers including Greg Fiete, a professor of physics at The University of Texas at Austin, have developed a new tool for probing the properties of TIs that might aid in the development of new materials and devices. The new method, called β‑detected nuclear magnetic resonance, embeds radioactive lithium ions into a TI. As the ions decay, they release high-energy electrons that reveal electronic and magnetic properties of the material at a range of depths, allowing them to differentiate surface properties from those of the interior.

A description of this work appears this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Tuesday, 27 October 2020

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