Asia Research News 2021

Page 20

TECHNOLOGY

PUTTING A SPIN ON HEUSLER ALLOYS Heusler alloys are promising contenders for faster and more energy-efficient computing and memory storage devices.

ASIA RE SEA RC H N EWS

Spintronics, also known as spin electronics, is a field of applied physics that investigates the use of electron spins, instead of their charge, for carrying information in solid-state devices. A category of materials showing great promise in this area is Heusler alloys: materials formed of one or two parts metal X, one part metal Y, and one part metal Z, each coming from a distinct part of the periodic table of elements. The interesting thing about these alloys is that even though the metals are not magnetic on their own, they become magnetic when combined. “Spintronic devices using Heusler alloys are expected to replace currently used memory cells and magnetic sensors,” says Atsufumi Hirohata of the University of York, UK, who specializes in spintronics and helped review the major achievements made to-date in Heusler alloy spintronic research for the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials. A major advantage of Heusler alloys for spintronic devices is the ability to control their unique electrical and magnetic properties, which result directly from electron spins, by making changes to their crystalline structures. But this requires very high temperatures, which researchers want to reduce for practical device applications. Over the last few decades, scientists have investigated different ways to grow

202 1 Credit: Dmitri Stalnuhhi | 123rf

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Further Professor Atsufumi Hirohata | atsufumi.hirohata@york.ac.uk information Department of Electronic Engineering University of York

Dr Yoshikazu Shinohara | shinohara.yoshikazu@nims.go.jp Science and Technology of Advanced Materials National Institute for Materials Science


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