Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2016-06-13

Exascale supercomputing

Paul Messina discusses rewards, challenges for new exascale project ...

Quantum computing

Analogue quantum computation has been universally digitized using superconducting circuits ...

World-first pinpointing of atoms at work for quantum computers ...

Controlling quantum states atom by atom ...

Focus on Europe

Euro 2016: Computer predicts football results ...

HPC community gears up for ISC 2016 - record number of attendees expected ...

Middleware

Bright Computing partners with ProfitBricks to offer customers an elastic high performance computing solution ...

One Stop Systems introduces the GPUltima with Bright Computing's HPC Cluster Manager ...

BeeGFS Omni-Path certification: 12GB/s per server ...

Bright Computing unveils its plans for the International Supercomputing Expo ...

Mellanox paves the way to higher efficiency data centres with 25 Gb/s Ethernet ...

IBM invests to accelerate development and commercialization of disruptive technologies in Asia ...

Hardware

DVV data centre to host new magnitUDE supercomputer ...

CSIR's Centre for High Performance Computing unveils the fastest computer in Africa ...

PNNL appoints Liyuan Liang director of Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory ...

Forrester Research names Cray a strong performer in Big Data Hadoop Optimized Systems ...

PRACE to issue Newsletter 17 ...

Dell enables customers to maximize performance of enterprise applications and core business workloads with PowerEdge four-socket servers ...

Michigan State University celebrates arrival of new supercomputer ...

Applications

Materials project releases massive trove of battery and molecule data ...

NERSC fields its first Student Cluster Competition team ...

Simulating chemical evolution with Piz Daint ...

Skyrmions à la carte ...

The Cloud

IBM launches industry's first development environment for Apache Spark - delivered in the Cloud for rapid adoption ...

Leadtek looks to build on healthcare solutions leverage its longtime high-performance visual computing technologies by eyeing medical IoT opportunities ...

Skyrmions à la carte


Tiny magnetic vortices with a diameter of just a few nanometres in a metallic layer structure. The diagram represents the "atomic bar magnets" of each magnetic atom by means of a small coloured arrow. The red, upward-pointing arrows show a homogeneous ferromagnetic background. In the magnetic vortices - the skyrmions - the "atomic bar magnets" of the iron atoms spin around (orange and green arrows) and have an opposite orientation in their centres (blue arrows). Copyright: Bertrand Dupé.
3 Jun 2016 Kiel - Magnetic vortices - so-called skyrmions - were predicted theoretically more than 25 years ago, but it has only been possible to observe them experimentally in magnetic materials in recent years. Skyrmions are stable, can have a diameter of just a few nanometres, and can be moved efficiently by electrical currents. Therefore, they are presently being discussed as candidates for high density, energy-saving data storage and processing. However, until very recently, the only materials known to exhibit skyrmions did so at extremely low temperatures. Scientists at Kiel University and Forschungszentrum Jülich have predicted that skyrmions can also be realized for application at room temperature - and their properties specifically adjusted - when enveloped in magnetic layer structures. Their results have been published in the current issue (June 3, 2016) of the renowned scientific journalNature Communications.

The team, headed by the physicist Dr. Bertrand Dupé, is sure that each skyrmion could store 1 bit of information. The small size of the vortex allows a very high density to be achieved. In contrast with hard drive disks, which are spun to enable data to be entered or read, in the case of skyrmion-based devices the bits could simply be moved right through the material, similar to how electricity flows through a wire. No mechanical moving parts would be required - only weak electrical currents, which saves energy. In addition, once the computer is switched on, the data is available immediately, as it is stored in non-volatile memory. The envisaged devices required could be manufactured with standard technologies currently used in industry.

Skyrmions were first observed experimentally in 2009, in exotic crystals at temperatures close to absolute zero. In the meantime, these unique magnetic structures can also be found on metallic surfaces, as used today in technological applications such as magnetic sensors or the reading heads of hard drives. In order to use skyrmions as a storage medium, it must be possible to manufacture the surfaces or interfaces on a sufficiently large scale, they must contain enough of the magnetic material, and the magnetic vortex must also occur at room temperature.

Suggestions on how to overcome these challenges have been made by the scientists from Kiel University and the Forschungszentrum Jülich in their currently published study. In this study, they show that the magnetic properties of the boundary surfaces can be specifically adjusted by layering different metals very thinly on top of one another. Each of the layers is only a few atoms thick. "By using quantum-mechanical calculations, which were carried out on the supercomputers at the Forschungszentrum Jülich and the North-German Supercomputing Alliance (HLRN), we were able to investigate a multitude of possible systems", stated Professor Stefan Heinze from Kiel University. The multiple repetition of such layers ensures that there is enough magnetic material and that it should also be possible to produce skyrmions at room temperature, Stefan Heinze continued.

"Our study provides the experimenters with recipes for making skyrmions à la carte", explained Bertrand Dupé. It has recently been proven that these theoretical recipes from the supercomputers can also be implemented in practice. "The idea of producing skyrmions in layer systems has already been taken up by a number of research groups all over the world. A few months ago, several publications reported the successful experimental observation of skyrmions", stated Dr. Gustav Bihlmayer from the Forschungszentrum Jülich. The theoretical basis for these experiments is provided in their latest publication, continued Gustav Bihlmayer.

However, there is still a long way to go until the first memory applications based on magnetic skyrmions are produced. The development of prototypes of magnetic data storage is being investigated by the Kiel and Jülich scientists in the joint project MAGicSky. The experimental tasks are carried out by colleagues from Germany, France, Great Britain and Switzerland. The research is subsidised by the European Union within the Future Emergent Technologies programme.

The original publication is titled "Engineering skyrmions in transition-metal multilayers for spintronics", and is authored by Bertrand Dupé, Gustav Bihlmayer, Marie Böttcher, Stefan Blügel and Stefan Heinze. It is published inNature Communications. The online publication is dated on 3.6.2016, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms11779.
Source: Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet zu Kiel

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2016-06-13

Exascale supercomputing

Paul Messina discusses rewards, challenges for new exascale project ...

Quantum computing

Analogue quantum computation has been universally digitized using superconducting circuits ...

World-first pinpointing of atoms at work for quantum computers ...

Controlling quantum states atom by atom ...

Focus on Europe

Euro 2016: Computer predicts football results ...

HPC community gears up for ISC 2016 - record number of attendees expected ...

Middleware

Bright Computing partners with ProfitBricks to offer customers an elastic high performance computing solution ...

One Stop Systems introduces the GPUltima with Bright Computing's HPC Cluster Manager ...

BeeGFS Omni-Path certification: 12GB/s per server ...

Bright Computing unveils its plans for the International Supercomputing Expo ...

Mellanox paves the way to higher efficiency data centres with 25 Gb/s Ethernet ...

IBM invests to accelerate development and commercialization of disruptive technologies in Asia ...

Hardware

DVV data centre to host new magnitUDE supercomputer ...

CSIR's Centre for High Performance Computing unveils the fastest computer in Africa ...

PNNL appoints Liyuan Liang director of Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory ...

Forrester Research names Cray a strong performer in Big Data Hadoop Optimized Systems ...

PRACE to issue Newsletter 17 ...

Dell enables customers to maximize performance of enterprise applications and core business workloads with PowerEdge four-socket servers ...

Michigan State University celebrates arrival of new supercomputer ...

Applications

Materials project releases massive trove of battery and molecule data ...

NERSC fields its first Student Cluster Competition team ...

Simulating chemical evolution with Piz Daint ...

Skyrmions à la carte ...

The Cloud

IBM launches industry's first development environment for Apache Spark - delivered in the Cloud for rapid adoption ...

Leadtek looks to build on healthcare solutions leverage its longtime high-performance visual computing technologies by eyeing medical IoT opportunities ...