Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Scientists Put a New Spin on Nanotechnology

Brookhaven National Laboratory's Center for Functional Nanomaterials
Brookhaven National Laboratory's Center for Functional Nanomaterials

Abstract:
An international team of researchers has succeeded in creating artificial spin ice in a state of thermal equilibrium for the first time, allowing them to examine the precise configuration of this important nanomaterial.

Scientists Put a New Spin on Nanotechnology

UK | Posted on November 29th, 2010

Scientists from the University of Leeds, the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory and the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory say the breakthrough will allow them to study in much greater detail a scientific phenomenon known as 'magnetic monopoles,' which are thought to exist in such structures. Their findings are published today in the journal Nature Physics.

Artificial spin ice is built using nanotechnology and is made up of millions of tiny magnets, each thousands of times smaller than a grain of sand. The magnets exist in a lattice in what is known as a 'frustrated' structure. Like water ice, the geometry of the structure means that all of the interactions between the atoms cannot be satisfied at the same time.

"It's like trying to seat alternating male and female diners around a table with an odd number of seats - however much you re-arrange them you will never succeed," said Dr Christopher Marrows from the University of Leeds, co-author of the paper.

In spin ice, magnetic dipoles with a north and south pole are arranged in tetrahedron structures. Each dipole has magnetic moments, similar to the protons on H2O molecules in water ice, which attract and repel each other. Consequently, the dipoles arrange themselves into the lowest possible energy state, which is two poles pointing in and two pointing out.

Dr Marrows said: "Spin ices have created a lot of excitement in recent years as it has been realised that they are a playground for physicists studying magnetic monopole excitations and Dirac string physics in the solid state. However, until now all of the samples of these artificial structures created in the lab have been what we call 'jammed.'

"What we have done is find a way to un-jam spin ice and get it into a well-ordered ground state known as thermal equilibrium. We can then freeze a sample into this state, and use a microscope to see which way all the little magnets are pointing. It's the equivalent of being able take a picture of every atom in a room as it allows us to inspect exactly how the structure is configured."

Jason Morgan, PhD student at the University of Leeds and lead author of the paper, was the first member of the team to observe the sample in equilibrium. He said: "Getting the sample to self-order in such a way has never been achieved experimentally before and for a while had been considered impossible. But when we looked at the sample using magnetic force microscopy and saw this beautiful periodic structure we knew instantly that we had achieved an ordered ground state."

The researchers have also been able to observe individual excitations out of this ground state within their sample, which they say is evidence for monopole dynamics within the lattice.

Magnetic monopoles - magnets with only a single north or south pole - are former hypothetical particles that are now thought to exist in spin ice. There is hope among scientists that understanding these monopoles in more detail could lead to advances in a novel technology field known as 'magnetricity' - a magnetic equivalent to electricity.

Co-author Sean Langridge, a Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Fellow and visiting Professor at the University of Leeds, added: "In the naturally occurring spin-ice systems this ground state is predicted but has not been experimentally observed.

"Now that is has been observed in an artificial system the next step is to observe dynamically the excitations from this ground state. We can only do this by controlling the interactions with state of the art lithographic techniques. This level of control will provide an even greater level of understanding in this fascinating system."

The team created "artificial" spin ice samples at Brookhaven using a state-of-the-art nanotechnology tool called an electron beam writer. A similar £4 million facility is shortly to be opened at the University of Leeds which will be unique to the UK and will allow continued collaboration with the researchers at Brookhaven.

The research was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Science and Technology Facilities Council, and the US Department of Energy's Office of Science.

For more information

The paper, entitled 'Thermal Ground State Ordering and Elementary Excitations in Artificial Magnetic Square Ice' is published online today in the journal Nature Physics, dx.doi.org/10.1038/NPHYS1853.

To request an interview with Dr Chris Marrows, or to request photographs of the spin ice sample, please contact Hannah Isom in the University of Leeds press office on 0113 343 4031 or email

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
For more information about Brookhaven’s role in this research, contact:
Karen McNulty Walsh
631 344-8350

Copyright © University of Leeds

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

Physics

New theory could lead to new generation of energy friendly optoelectronics: Researchers at Queen's University Belfast and ETH Zurich, Switzerland, have created a new theoretical framework which could help physicists and device engineers design better optoelectronics August 23rd, 2016

News and information

New theory could lead to new generation of energy friendly optoelectronics: Researchers at Queen's University Belfast and ETH Zurich, Switzerland, have created a new theoretical framework which could help physicists and device engineers design better optoelectronics August 23rd, 2016

New flexible material can make any window 'smart' August 23rd, 2016

University of Puerto Rico and NASA back in the news – XEI reports August 23rd, 2016

Nanoparticles that speed blood clotting may someday save lives August 23rd, 2016

Openings/New facilities/Groundbreaking/Expansion

GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Expand Presence in China with 300mm Fab in Chongqing: Company plans new manufacturing facility and additional design capabilities to serve customers in China May 31st, 2016

Albertan Science Lab Opens in India May 7th, 2016

SUNY Poly Partnership with Japan's New Energy and Industrial Development Organization Drives Investment in and Installation of Emerging ‘Green’ Technologies at World-Class 'Zero Energy Nano' Building March 22nd, 2016

Composite Pipe Long Term Testing Facility February 10th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

New theory could lead to new generation of energy friendly optoelectronics: Researchers at Queen's University Belfast and ETH Zurich, Switzerland, have created a new theoretical framework which could help physicists and device engineers design better optoelectronics August 23rd, 2016

New flexible material can make any window 'smart' August 23rd, 2016

Researchers reduce expensive noble metals for fuel cell reactions August 22nd, 2016

Spider silk: Mother Nature's bio-superlens August 22nd, 2016

Academic/Education

Nanotech Security Featured by Simon Fraser University: Company's Anti-Counterfeiting Technology Developed With the Help of University's 4D LABS Materials Research Institute August 21st, 2016

W.M. Keck Foundation awards Cal State LA a $375,000 research and education grant August 4th, 2016

Thomas Swan and NGI announce unique partnership July 28th, 2016

The NanoWizard® AFM from JPK is applied for interdisciplinary research at the University of South Australia for applications including smart wound healing and how plants can protect themselves from toxins July 26th, 2016

Discoveries

New theory could lead to new generation of energy friendly optoelectronics: Researchers at Queen's University Belfast and ETH Zurich, Switzerland, have created a new theoretical framework which could help physicists and device engineers design better optoelectronics August 23rd, 2016

New flexible material can make any window 'smart' August 23rd, 2016

Nanoparticles that speed blood clotting may someday save lives August 23rd, 2016

Researchers reduce expensive noble metals for fuel cell reactions August 22nd, 2016

Announcements

New theory could lead to new generation of energy friendly optoelectronics: Researchers at Queen's University Belfast and ETH Zurich, Switzerland, have created a new theoretical framework which could help physicists and device engineers design better optoelectronics August 23rd, 2016

New flexible material can make any window 'smart' August 23rd, 2016

University of Puerto Rico and NASA back in the news – XEI reports August 23rd, 2016

Nanoparticles that speed blood clotting may someday save lives August 23rd, 2016

Research partnerships

New theory could lead to new generation of energy friendly optoelectronics: Researchers at Queen's University Belfast and ETH Zurich, Switzerland, have created a new theoretical framework which could help physicists and device engineers design better optoelectronics August 23rd, 2016

A new way to display the 3-D structure of molecules: Metal-organic frameworks provide a new platform for solving the structure of hard-to-study samples August 21st, 2016

Researchers watch catalysts at work August 19th, 2016

Tracing barnacle's footprint August 19th, 2016

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic