(May 18, 2015) Scientists from Paris and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin have been able to switch ferromagnetic domains on and off with low voltage in a structure made of two different ferroic materials. The switching works slightly above room temperature. Their results, which are published online in Scientific Reports, might inspire future applications in low-power spintronics, for instance for fast and efficient data storage.
Information can be written as a sequence of bit digits, i.e. “0” and “1”. Materials which display ferromagnetism are currently used to handle or store such bits of information in magnetic memories by controlling the magnetization strength or direction of the individual bits via magnetic fields. But the use of magnetic fields goes along with high power consumption. Now, a comparatively low power approach which uses electric fields (voltages) instead to write magnetic information might do the trick, as demonstrated by HZB scientists in collaboration with Lee C. Phillips and his French colleagues.