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Primeur weekly 2016-10-24

Focus

EUDAT Project Director Damien Lecarpentier to expand on added value of EUDAT for data storage, the success of the first DI4R Conference and on the importance of Key Performance Indicators for e-infrastructures ...

Quantum computing

Exploring defects in nanoscale devices for possible quantum computing applications ...

Quantum computers: 10-fold boost in stability achieved ...

New 3D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality ...

Focus on Europe

ISC 2017 seeks contributors for Conference programme ...

Middleware

Allinea brings new software performance briefings to SC16 ...

Hardware

Innovative technique for shaping light could solve bandwidth crunch ...

R&D collaboration in integrated electronic systems receives top award ...

UK Met Office installs new HPC system to significantly improve productivity of weather and climate data analysis ...

Fast data sharing with South Korea via Netherlight ...

NSF funds new projects to advance energy-efficient computing ...

Applications

Can we find more benign nanomaterials? ...

Scientists find technique to improve carbon superlattices for quantum electronic devices ...

A new class of materials could realize quantum computers ...

Rhön-Klinikum Hospitals to study how IBM Watson can support doctors in the diagnosis of rare diseases ...

Predicting jellyfish invasions at coastal power stations ...

IBM and Quest Diagnostics launch Watson-powered genomic sequencing service to help physicians bring precision cancer treatments to patients nationwide ...

A new spin on superconductivity ...

Insilico Medicine to present on recent advances in AI at BioData World in Cambridge ...

Unraveling the science behind biomass breakdown ...

T-rays will speed up computer memory by a factor of 1,000 ...

Promise of gene therapy for glaucoma shines bright in award-winning image ...

The Cloud

Amazon Web Services Cloud now available to customers from data centres in Ohio ...

IBM Cloud expands Bluemix ecosystem in China to fuel blockchain and IoT innovation ...

Atos teams with VMware to launch Digital Private Cloud offering ...

DNAstack launches genomics platform to accelerate disease research and precision medicine ...

A new class of materials could realize quantum computers

21 Oct 2016 Lausanne - Scientists at EPFL and PSI have discovered a new class of materials that can prove ideal for the implementation of spintronics.

Electron spin generally refers to the rotation of electrons around their axis. In a material electrons also orbit the atom's nucleus. When these two electron motions, spin and orbit interact, they locally produce a very strong magnetic field. As such, spin is used in MRI, NMR spectroscopy, and hard drives. Spintronics, an emerging field of technology, explores spin-orbit interactions to develop a new generation of power-saving electronics and high-capacity memory cells. Publishing inNature Communications, scientists at EPFL and the Swiss Light Source (PSI) have now identified a new class of materials whose electronic properties can prove ideal for spintronics.

In a classical picture spin exists in either of two directions: "up" or "down", which can be described respectively as the clockwise or counter-clockwise rotation of the electron around its axis. However, the full picture is even more fascinating; the spin is a quantum property of the electron and can thus be in a superposition of up and down. Similar to the picture of Schrödinger's cat being alive and dead at the same time. This makes a controllable spin state also a promising aspect for quantum computers.

Hugo Dil at EPFL together with Juraj Krempasky and Vladimir Strocov at the Paul Scherrer Institute led a study on the electronic and spin structure of a material made of Germanium and Tellurium (GeTe) and doped with Manganese (Mn). It belongs to the small class of multiferroic materials where (ferro)magnetic and (ferro)electric properties are directly coupled. In this material the combination of spin-orbit interaction and magnetism produces some exotic properties which were sought for by researchers world wide, but no for the first time are experimentally identified.

For their study, the researchers used thin films of the GeTe material, each about 200 nm thick. The researchers used a technique called photoemission, which uses the photoelectric effect predicted by Einstein and with which Hugo Dil's lab has longstanding expertise.

The study revealed the intertwined nature of the electric and magnetic properties of the new class of materials, which are termed "multiferroic Rashba semiconductors" - Rashba refers to the type of spin separation. "In multiferroic materials the electric and magnetic properties are directly linked", explained Hugo Dil. "So when we switch one the other is affected too, which paves the way to future spintronic devices, since we can switch the magnetic orientation using just a small electrical field."

On a more fundamental level, the GeTe compound used in this study shows that the electric and magnetic polarization are exactly antiparallel, unlike the few other known multiferroic materials. Furthermore, the properties extend throughout the whole of the material and are not confined to a small region. This has far-reaching implications for the way its electronic states are structured. As Hugo Dil explained: "In this case the electronic structure is similar to that of topological insulators, but then in 3D. Exactly this property forms the basis for the formation of Majorana particles to be used in quantum computers."

This study represents a collaboration between EPFL, PSI - Swiss Light Source, Ludwig Maximillian University Munich, the SOLEIL Synchrotron, Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute, New Technologies-Research Center University of West Bohemia, and the Johannes Kepler Universität Linz. It was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation Project, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF), the Austrian Science Funds, the CENTEM PLUS project, and the European Community's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

Krempaský J., Muff S., Bisti F., Fanciulli M., Volfová H., Weber A., Pilet N., Warnicke P., Ebert H., Braun J., Bertran F., Volobuiev V.V.V., Minár J., Springholz G., Dil J.H., Strocov V.N. are the authors of the paper titled " Entanglement and manipulation of the magnetic and spin-orbit order in multiferroic Rashba semiconductors ". This was published inNature Communications, 21 October 2016. DOI: 10.1038/NCOMMS13071.

Source: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2016-10-24

Focus

EUDAT Project Director Damien Lecarpentier to expand on added value of EUDAT for data storage, the success of the first DI4R Conference and on the importance of Key Performance Indicators for e-infrastructures ...

Quantum computing

Exploring defects in nanoscale devices for possible quantum computing applications ...

Quantum computers: 10-fold boost in stability achieved ...

New 3D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality ...

Focus on Europe

ISC 2017 seeks contributors for Conference programme ...

Middleware

Allinea brings new software performance briefings to SC16 ...

Hardware

Innovative technique for shaping light could solve bandwidth crunch ...

R&D collaboration in integrated electronic systems receives top award ...

UK Met Office installs new HPC system to significantly improve productivity of weather and climate data analysis ...

Fast data sharing with South Korea via Netherlight ...

NSF funds new projects to advance energy-efficient computing ...

Applications

Can we find more benign nanomaterials? ...

Scientists find technique to improve carbon superlattices for quantum electronic devices ...

A new class of materials could realize quantum computers ...

Rhön-Klinikum Hospitals to study how IBM Watson can support doctors in the diagnosis of rare diseases ...

Predicting jellyfish invasions at coastal power stations ...

IBM and Quest Diagnostics launch Watson-powered genomic sequencing service to help physicians bring precision cancer treatments to patients nationwide ...

A new spin on superconductivity ...

Insilico Medicine to present on recent advances in AI at BioData World in Cambridge ...

Unraveling the science behind biomass breakdown ...

T-rays will speed up computer memory by a factor of 1,000 ...

Promise of gene therapy for glaucoma shines bright in award-winning image ...

The Cloud

Amazon Web Services Cloud now available to customers from data centres in Ohio ...

IBM Cloud expands Bluemix ecosystem in China to fuel blockchain and IoT innovation ...

Atos teams with VMware to launch Digital Private Cloud offering ...

DNAstack launches genomics platform to accelerate disease research and precision medicine ...