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Spintronics: Exotic ferromagnetic order in two-dimensions

Nov 01, 2021

(Nanowerk News) An worldwide crew has detected at HZB’s vector magnet facility VEKMAG an unusual ferromagnetic property in a two-dimensional system, generally called “easy-plane anisotropy”. This may foster new energy surroundings pleasant knowledge utilized sciences primarily based totally on spintronics for data storage, amongst completely different points. The crew has printed its results in the renowned journal Science (“Intrinsic 2D-XY ferromagnetism in a van der Waals monolayer”). The thinnest provides on the earth are solely a single atom thick. These kinds of two-dimensional or 2D materials – equal to graphene, well-known as consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms – are inflicting numerous pleasure amongst evaluation teams worldwide. This is because of these provides promise unusual properties that may’t be obtained using three-dimensional provides. As a final result, 2D provides are opening the door to new capabilities in fields equal to knowledge and present experience, along with for important components in terribly delicate sensors. Structures generally called van-der-Waals monolayers are arousing express curiosity. These are combos of two or additional layers of varied provides that are each solely a single atom thick, with the layers held to a minimum of one one different by weak electrostatic van-der-Waals forces. By deciding on the kind and sequence of material layers certain on this technique, explicit electrical, magnetic, and optical traits is perhaps chosen and modified. However, scaled-up homogeneous deposition of explicit individual van-der-Waals layers having ferromagnetic properties has not however been achieved. Yet it is precisely this kind of magnetism on a much bigger scale that is considerably needed for a variety of potential capabilities – equal to for a novel kind of non-volatile memory as an example. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Microstructure Physics in Halle, Germany, the ALBA synchrotron light provide in Barcelona, Spain, and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin have now succeeded for the first time in making a uniform two-dimensional supplies – and demonstrating an distinctive ferromagnetic behaviour inside it generally called “easy-plane” magnetism. STM topography of a monolayer CrCl3 grown on Graphene/6H-SiC(0001). Inset, a magnified topography image, which reveals the grain boundaries. (© Science)

A just about free-floating layer of chromium and chlorine

The researchers from Germany and Spain utilised chromium chloride (CrCl3) as a material, which resembles the corresponding compound constituted of chromium and iodine in building – nevertheless is perhaps considerably additional sturdy. The crew in Halle deposited a macro-scale monoatomic layer of this supplies upon a graphene-coated silicon-carbide substrate using molecular-beam epitaxy. The perform of the graphene was to chop again the interaction between chromium chloride and silicon carbide and thereby cease the substrate from influencing the properties of the monoatomic CrCl3 layer. “This was the vital factor to accessing the elusive magnetic easy-plane anisotropy”, explains Dr. Amilcar Bedoya-Pinto, a researcher in Prof. Stuart Parkin’s group on the Max Planck Institute in Halle. “Essentially, we obtained an almost free-floating, ultrathin layer that was only bound to the graphene interlayer by weak van-der-Waals forces.” The crew’s goal was to answer the question of how the magnetic order in chromium chloride manifests itself when it consists of solely a single monoatomic layer. In its common three-dimensional sort, the substance is antiferromagnetic. As a final result, the magnetic moments of the atoms are oriented in reverse directions in each layer – which makes the material appear non-magnetic in bulk. Theoretical issues up to now suggested that the magnetic ordering is misplaced or shows weak normal magnetisation when the material is lowered to a single atomic layer.

Precise measurements on the VEKMAG facility

However, scientists have now succeeded in disproving this – by taking an in depth take a look on the magnetic properties of the 2D supplies. To accomplish that, they used the distinctive capabilities of the VEKMAG vector magnet facility put in at HZB’s synchrotron radiation provide BESSY II. “Here it is possible to investigate samples using soft X-rays in a strong magnetic field – and at temperatures near absolute zero”, says Dr Florin Radu, head of the crew at HZB responsible for operations on the VEKMAG facility. “Those aspects makes the facility unique in the world”, supplies the Berlin scientist. It enabled the crew members from Halle to search out out the orientation of explicit individual magnetic moments and to exactly distinguish between chromium and chlorine atoms. During the measurements, the researchers observed how ferromagnetic order formed inside the two-dimensional supplies underneath a certain temperature, what is known as the Curie temperature. “In the monoatomic chromium chloride layer, a phase transition characteristic of easy-plane magnets took place that had never been observed before in such a 2D material”, tales Bedoya-Pinto.

Tailwind for the occasion of spintronics

The discovery not solely provides new insights into the magnetic behaviour of two-dimensional provides. “We now also have an excellent platform for exploring a variety of physical phenomena that only exist in two-dimensional magnets”, Bedoya-Pinto is joyful to say, equal to superfluid (lossless) transport of spin, which is a type of intrinsic angular momentum of electrons and completely different particles. These are the thought for a model new kind of information processing that – not like normal electronics – makes use of magnetic moments comparatively than electrical bills. Known as spintronics, that’s presently revolutionizing data storage and knowledge processing. The new insights gained at HZB may improve this development.

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