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Saving data in vortex structures
Date:2/21/2012

ation remained a problem. So far, Professor Pfleiderer's team has resorted to neutron radiation from the neighboring research reactor FRM II at the TU Muenchen to study the materials. "We can just take the crystals generated in our laboratory at the physics department, walk over there and use the neutrons to measure the magnetic structure, its dynamics and many other properties," said Christian Pfleiderer.

Using neutron radiation, the scientists were able to prove that even the tiniest of currents are sufficient to move the magnetic eddies. Now the physicists have developed a method by which skyrmions can be moved and measured in a purely electronic manner. "When the electric eddies move in a material, they generate an electric field", said Christian Pfleiderer. "And that is something we can measure directly with electronic equipment available in our laboratory."

At present a current is used in the read/write head of a hard drive to generate a magnetic field in order to magnetize a spot on the hard drive and thus write a data bit. Skyrmions, in contrast, can be moved directly and that with very small currents. "This should make saving and processing data much more compact and energy-efficient," said Christian Pfleiderer.

However, the measurement of this phenomenon still depends on very low temperatures. The European Research Council is currently funding a project with the aim of developing new materials that will permit the use of skyrmions at room temperature. But there is a lot of research work yet to be done before the first electronic components based on this technology reach the market.


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Contact: Dr. Andreas Battenberg
battenberg@zv.tum.de
49-892-891-0510
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Source:Eurekalert  

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