New insights on the spin dynamics of a material candidate for low-power devices

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magnetic insulator

The low-power Devices is use to minimize heat loss and optimize performance for low-power technology, researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory are exploring involves manipulating the magnetic spin of electrons, a scientific field known as Spintronics.

Spin dynamics

In a study, Materials scientist Axel and fellow researchers leak new insights into the properties of a magnetic insulator that is a candidate for low-power device applications. Their insights form early stepping-stones towards developing high-speed, low-power electronics that use electron spin rather than charge to carry information.

Yttrium Iron Garnet (YIG), is a magnetic insulator that generates and transmits spins current efficiently and dissipates little energy. YIG has been used in microwave and radar technologies, but recent discoveries of spintronic effects associated with YIG have prompted researchers to explore potential spintronic applications. Researchers characterize the spin dynamics associated with a small-scale sample of YIG when that material is exposed to an electrical current.

Benjamin Jungfleisch, lead author of the study, said, this is the first time for anyone to have measured spin dynamics on a sample size this small. Understanding the behavior at a small size is crucial because these materials need to be small to ever have the potential to be successfully integrated in low-power devices.

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Researchers attached the YIG sample to platinum nanowires using electric beam lithography, creating a micrometer-size YIG/platinum structure and then sent an electrical current through the platinum to excite the YIG and drive spin dynamics. They then took electrical measurements to characterize the magnetization dynamics and measure how these dynamics changed by shrinking the YIG.

Hoffman said, when the materials contract they can behave in different ways that could present a roadblock to identifying and actualizing potential new applications. What we’ve observed is that, there are small details that change when YIG is made smaller, there doesn’t appear to be a fundamental roadblock that prevents us from using the physical approaches we use for small electrical devices.

More information: [Nano Letters]