Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Scientists break the link between a quantum material's spin and orbital states: The advance opens a path toward a new generation of logic and memory devices based on orbitronics that could be 10,000 times faster than today's

These balloon-and-disc shapes represent an electron orbital -- a fuzzy electron cloud around an atom's nucleus -- in two different orientations. Scientists hope to someday use variations in the orientations of orbitals as the 0s and 1s needed to make computations and store information in computer memories, a system known as orbitronics. A SLAC study shows it's possible to separate these orbital orientations from electron spin patterns, a key step for independently controlling them in a class of materials that's the cornerstone of modern information technology.

CREDIT
Greg Stewart/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
These balloon-and-disc shapes represent an electron orbital -- a fuzzy electron cloud around an atom's nucleus -- in two different orientations. Scientists hope to someday use variations in the orientations of orbitals as the 0s and 1s needed to make computations and store information in computer memories, a system known as orbitronics. A SLAC study shows it's possible to separate these orbital orientations from electron spin patterns, a key step for independently controlling them in a class of materials that's the cornerstone of modern information technology. CREDIT Greg Stewart/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Abstract:
In designing electronic devices, scientists look for ways to manipulate and control three basic properties of electrons: their charge; their spin states, which give rise to magnetism; and the shapes of the fuzzy clouds they form around the nuclei of atoms, which are known as orbitals.

Scientists break the link between a quantum material's spin and orbital states: The advance opens a path toward a new generation of logic and memory devices based on orbitronics that could be 10,000 times faster than today's

Sanford, CA | Posted on May 15th, 2020

Until now, electron spins and orbitals were thought to go hand in hand in a class of materials that's the cornerstone of modern information technology; you couldn't quickly change one without changing the other. But a study at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory shows that a pulse of laser light can dramatically change the spin state of one important class of materials while leaving its orbital state intact.

The results suggest a new path for making a future generation of logic and memory devices based on "orbitronics," said Lingjia Shen, a SLAC research associate and one of the lead researchers for the study.

"What we're seeing in this system is the complete opposite of what people have seen in the past," Shen said. "It raises the possibility that we could control a material's spin and orbital states separately, and use variations in the shapes of orbitals as the 0s and 1s needed to make computations and store information in computer memories."

The international research team, led by Joshua Turner, a SLAC staff scientist and investigator with the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Science (SIMES), reported their results this week in Physical Review B Rapid Communications.

An intriguing, complex material

The material the team studied was a manganese oxide-based quantum material known as NSMO, which comes in extremely thin crystalline layers. It's been around for three decades and is used in devices where information is stored by using a magnetic field to switch from one electron spin state to another, a method known as spintronics. NSMO is also considered a promising candidate for making future computers and memory storage devices based on skyrmions, tiny particle-like vortexes created by the magnetic fields of spinning electrons.

But this material is also very complex, said Yoshinori Tokura, director of the RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science in Japan, who was also involved in the study.

"Unlike semiconductors and other familiar materials, NSMO is a quantum material whose electrons behave in a cooperative, or correlated, manner, rather than independently as they usually do," he said. "This makes it hard to control one aspect of the electrons' behavior without affecting all the others."

One common way to investigate this type of material is to hit it with laser light to see how its electronic states respond to an injection of energy. That's what the research team did here. They observed the material's response with X-ray laser pulses from SLAC's Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS).

One melts, the other doesn't

What they expected to see was that orderly patterns of electron spins and orbitals in the material would be thrown into total disarray, or "melted," as they absorbed pulses of near-infrared laser light.

But to their surprise, only the spin patterns melted, while the orbital patterns stayed intact, Turner said. The normal coupling between the spin and orbital states had been completely broken, he said, which is a challenging thing to do in this type of correlated material and had not been observed before.

Tokura said, "Usually only a tiny application of photoexcitation destroys everything. Here, they were able to keep the electron state that is most important for future devices - the orbital state - undamaged. This is a nice new addition to the science of orbitronics and correlated electrons."

Much as electron spin states are switched in spintronics, electron orbital states could be switched to provide a similar function. These orbitronic devices could, in theory, operate 10,000 faster than spintronic devices, Shen said.

Switching between two orbital states could be made possible by using short bursts of terahertz radiation, rather than the magnetic fields used today, he said: "Combining the two could achieve much better device performance for future applications." The team is working on ways to do that.

###

Shen is now a postdoctoral researcher at Lund University in Sweden with a joint position with SIMES at SLAC. Scientists from the Advanced Light Source at DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; the Swiss Light Source at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Sweden; the University of Tokyo and University of Tsukuba in Japan; and the University of Chicago also contributed to this research. Both LCLS and the Advanced Light Source are DOE Office of Science user facilities, and major support for the study came from the DOE Office of Science. Turner's research was supported through the DOE Office of Science Early Career Research Program.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Glennda Chui

510-507-2766

Copyright © SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

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 Links

Citation: Lingjia Shen et al., Physical Review B Rapid Communications 101, 201103(R), 12 May 2020:

Related News Press

News and information

Nano-microscope gives first direct observation of the magnetic properties of 2D materials: Discovery means new class of materials and technologies September 18th, 2020

Physicists make electrical nanolasers even smaller September 18th, 2020

Shape matters for light-activated nanocatalysts - Study: Pointed tips on aluminum 'octopods' increase catalytic reactivity September 18th, 2020

Aberrant electronic and structural alterations in pressure tuned perovskite NaOsO3 September 18th, 2020

Quantum Physics

Quirky response to magnetism presents quantum physics mystery: Magnetic topological insulators could be just right for making qubits, but this one doesn't obey the rules September 11th, 2020

Get diamonds, take temperature: Quantum thermometer using nanodiamonds senses a 'fever' in tiny worms C. elegans September 11th, 2020

Laboratories

Quirky response to magnetism presents quantum physics mystery: Magnetic topological insulators could be just right for making qubits, but this one doesn't obey the rules September 11th, 2020

Boundaries no barrier for thermoelectricity: Rice researchers find potentially useful electrical phenomenon in gold nanowires September 8th, 2020

Physics

Quirky response to magnetism presents quantum physics mystery: Magnetic topological insulators could be just right for making qubits, but this one doesn't obey the rules September 11th, 2020

Painting With Light: Novel Nanopillars Precisely Control the Color and Intensity of Transmitted Light September 4th, 2020

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Nano-microscope gives first direct observation of the magnetic properties of 2D materials: Discovery means new class of materials and technologies September 18th, 2020

Physicists make electrical nanolasers even smaller September 18th, 2020

Shape matters for light-activated nanocatalysts - Study: Pointed tips on aluminum 'octopods' increase catalytic reactivity September 18th, 2020

Fast calculation dials in better batteries: Analytical model from Rice University helps researchers fine-tune battery performance September 16th, 2020

Possible Futures

Nano-microscope gives first direct observation of the magnetic properties of 2D materials: Discovery means new class of materials and technologies September 18th, 2020

Physicists make electrical nanolasers even smaller September 18th, 2020

Shape matters for light-activated nanocatalysts - Study: Pointed tips on aluminum 'octopods' increase catalytic reactivity September 18th, 2020

Aberrant electronic and structural alterations in pressure tuned perovskite NaOsO3 September 18th, 2020

Spintronics

A four-state magnetic tunnel junction for novel spintronics applications: A novel magnetic tunnel junction which has four resistance states, instead of two states in existing magnetic tunnel junctions, may pave the way to novel spintronics devices, including multi-level magnetic August 21st, 2020

Spintronics: Faster data processing through ultrashort electric pulses July 3rd, 2020

A path to new nanofluidic devices applying spintronics technology: Substantial increase in the energy conversion efficiency of hydrodynamic power generation via spin currents July 3rd, 2020

Extensive review of spin-gapless semiconductors: Next-generation spintronics candidates: spin-gapless semiconductors (SGSs) bridge the zero-gap materials and half-metals June 26th, 2020

Chip Technology

Nano-microscope gives first direct observation of the magnetic properties of 2D materials: Discovery means new class of materials and technologies September 18th, 2020

Physicists make electrical nanolasers even smaller September 18th, 2020

FEFU scientists are paving way for future tiny electronics and gadgets August 28th, 2020

A powder method for the high-efficacy measurement of electro-optic coefficients August 21st, 2020

Discoveries

Nano-microscope gives first direct observation of the magnetic properties of 2D materials: Discovery means new class of materials and technologies September 18th, 2020

Physicists make electrical nanolasers even smaller September 18th, 2020

Shape matters for light-activated nanocatalysts - Study: Pointed tips on aluminum 'octopods' increase catalytic reactivity September 18th, 2020

Aberrant electronic and structural alterations in pressure tuned perovskite NaOsO3 September 18th, 2020

Announcements

Nano-microscope gives first direct observation of the magnetic properties of 2D materials: Discovery means new class of materials and technologies September 18th, 2020

Physicists make electrical nanolasers even smaller September 18th, 2020

Shape matters for light-activated nanocatalysts - Study: Pointed tips on aluminum 'octopods' increase catalytic reactivity September 18th, 2020

Aberrant electronic and structural alterations in pressure tuned perovskite NaOsO3 September 18th, 2020

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers/Posters

Who stole the light? Self-induced ultrafast demagnetization limits the amount of light diffracted from magnetic samples at soft x-ray energies September 18th, 2020

Nano-microscope gives first direct observation of the magnetic properties of 2D materials: Discovery means new class of materials and technologies September 18th, 2020

Physicists make electrical nanolasers even smaller September 18th, 2020

Shape matters for light-activated nanocatalysts - Study: Pointed tips on aluminum 'octopods' increase catalytic reactivity September 18th, 2020

Research partnerships

Gentle probes could enable massive brain data collection: National Institutes of Health backing Riceís Chong Xie to refine flexible nanoelectronics thread September 14th, 2020

Boundaries no barrier for thermoelectricity: Rice researchers find potentially useful electrical phenomenon in gold nanowires September 8th, 2020

CEA-Leti X-Ray Photon-Counting Detector Modules Target Improved Medical Diagnoses: Clinical Trials Show Higher Spatial Resolution, Less Noise, Fewer Artifacts, And Color Capabilities in Patientsí Images September 3rd, 2020

Oxford Instruments partners with the £10 million consortium, to launch the first commercial quantum computer in UK September 2nd, 2020

Quantum nanoscience

Quirky response to magnetism presents quantum physics mystery: Magnetic topological insulators could be just right for making qubits, but this one doesn't obey the rules September 11th, 2020

Get diamonds, take temperature: Quantum thermometer using nanodiamonds senses a 'fever' in tiny worms C. elegans September 11th, 2020

Mathematical tool helps calculate properties of quantum materials more quickly August 14th, 2020

Sustainable chemistry at the quantum level: University of Pittsburgh's John Keith explores the sustainable potential of computational quantum chemistry August 6th, 2020

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




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project