Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Researcher suggests new memory storage mineral

A representation of the mineral kotoite's crystal structure. The oxygen atoms are red, and the magnesium atoms are located at the centers of the green octahedra. The boron atoms are located at the centers of the blue triangles connecting the oxygen atoms. Derek Stewart.
A representation of the mineral kotoite's crystal structure. The oxygen atoms are red, and the magnesium atoms are located at the centers of the green octahedra. The boron atoms are located at the centers of the blue triangles connecting the oxygen atoms. Derek Stewart.

Abstract:
Breakthroughs in electronics often are the result of finding just the right material for a device -- like the tungsten in light bulbs or the silicon in transistors. Now, a Cornell scientist believes that the mineral kotoite could be an ideal insulator for memory storage devices called magnetic tunnel junctions, found in computers, cell phones and magnetic field sensors.

Researcher suggests new memory storage mineral

Ithaca, NY | Posted on January 21st, 2010

The work, building on previous research by other Cornell scientists, is published by Derek Stewart, the Cornell NanoScale Science and Technology Facility's computational research associate, in the Dec. 17 online edition of Nano Letters (to appear later in print).

Magnetic tunnel junctions are made of a sandwich of two magnets, typically iron-based, with an oxide in the middle only nanometers thick. (A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter.) Electrons "tunnel" between the two magnets, and the oxide filters information from the electrons' spin states to create what is called nonvolatile memory, which doesn't require electricity to store information. These junctions are also used as very sensitive magnetic sensors or read heads for hard drives, since the device currents depend on the relative orientation of the iron layers' magnetic poles.

Cornell researchers, including Robert Buhrman, the John Edson Sweet Professor of Engineering, and Dan Ralph, the Horace White Professor of Physics, have been on the leading edge of this technology for several years.

In industry today, most magnetic tunnel junctions use aluminum oxide as the insulator. But in labs across the world, magnesium oxide is being tested as a next-generation insulator, because its cubic crystal structure matches well with the metallic leads, allowing more efficient filtering of electrons. John Read, a former graduate student in Buhrman's lab (now a postdoctoral associate at the National Institute of Standards and Technology), discovered by accident that the element boron, which he had used at Cornell while fabricating magnetic tunnel junctions to help smooth the material interfaces, was leaking into the insulators and forming a crystal, rather than diffusing away as intended. Yet the devices still worked.

Curious, the team tapped Stewart's computational expertise to work backward and figure out what specific material may have been inadvertently created between the two magnets as a result of the boron contamination.

Density functional calculations brought Stewart to kotoite (Mg3B2O6), a magnesium oxide that also has two boron atoms, which matches well with the magnets' chemistry, allows good electron filtering, and has a slightly different crystal shape than plain magnesium oxide (MgO). He also demonstrated that the mineral's crystal shape -- orthorhombic, as opposed to magnesium oxide's cubic symmetry -- could lead to even better electron spin filtering.

"Derek did a beautiful job of demonstrating that the symmetry arguments that one makes for magnesium oxide can be demonstrated for [kotoite]," Read said.

Calculations were done on the Intel Cluster at CNF, which is funded by the National Science Foundation.

####

About Cornell University
Once called "the first American university" by educational historian Frederick Rudolph, Cornell University represents a distinctive mix of eminent scholarship and democratic ideals. Adding practical subjects to the classics and admitting qualified students regardless of nationality, race, social circumstance, gender, or religion was quite a departure when Cornell was founded in 1865.

Today's Cornell reflects this heritage of egalitarian excellence. It is home to the nation's first colleges devoted to hotel administration, industrial and labor relations, and veterinary medicine. Both a private university and the land-grant institution of New York State, Cornell University is the most educationally diverse member of the Ivy League.

On the Ithaca campus alone nearly 20,000 students representing every state and 120 countries choose from among 4,000 courses in 11 undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools. Many undergraduates participate in a wide range of interdisciplinary programs, play meaningful roles in original research, and study in Cornell programs in Washington, New York City, and the world over.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Media Contact:
Blaine Friedlander
(607) 254-8093


Cornell Chronicle:
Anne Ju
(607) 255-9735

Related Information

Copyright © Cornell University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Laboratorial Performance of Nanocomposite Membrane Improved in Water Purification July 28th, 2015

Perfect Optical Properties in Production of Aluminum Oxide Colloid Nanoparticles July 28th, 2015

Short wavelength plasmons observed in nanotubes: Berkeley Lab researchers create Ludinger liquid plasmons in metallic SWNTs July 28th, 2015

'Seeing' molecular interactions could give boost to organic electronics July 28th, 2015

Physics

Make mine a decaf: Breakthrough in knowledge of how nanoparticles grow: University of Leicester and CNRS researchers observe how nanoparticles grow when exposed to helium July 23rd, 2015

Drawing a line between quantum and classical world: Bell's Inequality fails as a test of the boundary July 21st, 2015

Spintronics just got faster July 20th, 2015

Density-near-zero acoustical metamaterial made in China: Researchers create a tunable membrane 'metamaterial' with near-zero density, effectively recreating the quantum tunneling effect for sound waves July 14th, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Short wavelength plasmons observed in nanotubes: Berkeley Lab researchers create Ludinger liquid plasmons in metallic SWNTs July 28th, 2015

Smart hydrogel coating creates 'stick-slip' control of capillary action July 27th, 2015

Researchers predict material with record-setting melting point July 27th, 2015

Reshaping the solar spectrum to turn light to electricity: UC Riverside researchers find a way to use the infrared region of the sun's spectrum to make solar cells more efficient July 27th, 2015

Possible Futures

Smaller, faster, cheaper: A new type of modulator for the future of data transmission July 27th, 2015

Researchers predict material with record-setting melting point July 27th, 2015

Global Corrosion Resistant Nano Coatings Market To 2015: Acute Market Reports July 27th, 2015

Global Zinc oxide nanopowders Industry 2015: Acute Market Reports July 25th, 2015

Memory Technology

Reshaping the solar spectrum to turn light to electricity: UC Riverside researchers find a way to use the infrared region of the sun's spectrum to make solar cells more efficient July 27th, 2015

Spintronics: Molecules stabilizing magnetism: Organic molecules fixing the magnetic orientation of a cobalt surface/ building block for a compact and low-cost storage technology/ publication in Nature Materials July 25th, 2015

Better memory with faster lasers July 14th, 2015

The quantum middle man July 2nd, 2015

Nanoelectronics

Superfast fluorescence sets new speed record: Plasmonic device has speed and efficiency to serve optical computers July 27th, 2015

Spintronics: Molecules stabilizing magnetism: Organic molecules fixing the magnetic orientation of a cobalt surface/ building block for a compact and low-cost storage technology/ publication in Nature Materials July 25th, 2015

ORNL researchers make scalable arrays of 'building blocks' for ultrathin electronics July 22nd, 2015

An easy, scalable and direct method for synthesizing graphene in silicon microelectronics: Korean researchers grow 4-inch diameter, high-quality, multi-layer graphene on desired silicon substrates, an important step for harnessing graphene in commercial silicon microelectronics July 21st, 2015

Discoveries

Laboratorial Performance of Nanocomposite Membrane Improved in Water Purification July 28th, 2015

Perfect Optical Properties in Production of Aluminum Oxide Colloid Nanoparticles July 28th, 2015

Short wavelength plasmons observed in nanotubes: Berkeley Lab researchers create Ludinger liquid plasmons in metallic SWNTs July 28th, 2015

'Seeing' molecular interactions could give boost to organic electronics July 28th, 2015

Announcements

Laboratorial Performance of Nanocomposite Membrane Improved in Water Purification July 28th, 2015

Perfect Optical Properties in Production of Aluminum Oxide Colloid Nanoparticles July 28th, 2015

Short wavelength plasmons observed in nanotubes: Berkeley Lab researchers create Ludinger liquid plasmons in metallic SWNTs July 28th, 2015

'Seeing' molecular interactions could give boost to organic electronics July 28th, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project