DOE News
    Doe Science news source
    The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
    • 2018-12-05 11:05:46
    • Article ID: 704960

    Reflecting Antiferromagnetic Arrangements

    An x-ray imaging technique developed at Brookhaven Lab's National Synchrotron Light Source II could help scientists understand--and ultimately control--the magnetic structure of promising materials for the development of electronic devices that exploit electron spin

    • Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory

      Brookhaven Lab physicists Claudio Mazzoli (left) and Mark Dean at the Coherent Soft X-ray Scattering (CSX) beamline at the National Synchrotron Light Source II. Mazzoli and Dean are part of the team of scientists led by Rutgers University that used the CSX beamline to image some magnetic domains in an iron-based "antiferromagnetic" material. The ability to image these domains is key to developing spintronics, or spin electronics, for practical applications.

    • Credit: Nature Communications

      A schematic of the experimental setup. Coherent x-rays are directed through a pinhole onto the sample, and a detector captures the intensity of light as it is reflected off the sample. The intensity of the signal is reduced near the domain boundaries. On the basis of this "interference," scientists can determine where the boundaries are arranged in space.

    • Credit: Nature Communications

      Images of the antiphase domain boundaries (black wavy lines) after the sample was cooled from above a certain temperature. Images (a) through (d) refer to various thermal cycles providing different magnetic domain and wall configurations each time. The blue arrows indicate the position of a stationary structural defect, used as a reference point.

    UPTON, NY—A team led by Rutgers University and including scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory has demonstrated an x-ray imaging technique that could enable the development of smaller, faster, and more robust electronics.

    Described in a paper published on Nov. 27 in Nature Communications, the technique addresses a primary limitation in the emerging research field of “spintronics,” or spin electronics, using magnetic materials known as antiferromagnets (AFMs): the ability to image antiphase magnetic domains.

    Electrons in magnetic atoms point, or “spin,” in an up or down direction. In all magnetic materials, there are distinct regions—magnetic domains—in which the electron spins are arranged in a regular manner. Several configurations are possible depending on the type of magnetism. In AFMs, the spins on adjacent atoms point in opposite directions (e.g., up-down-up-down). While the spins within each domain are uniformly ordered, those within adjacent domains are aligned in a different way. For example, in AFMs, the spins in one domain may all be arranged in an up-down pattern, while down-up in a neighboring domain. Imaging these “antiphase” domains and the transitions (walls) that exist between them is the first step in being able to manipulate the magnetic state of AFMs to develop spintronic devices. 

    “Ultimately, the goal is to control the number, shape, size, and position of the domains,” said co-author Claudio Mazzoli, lead scientist at the Coherent Soft X-ray Scattering (CSX) beamline at Brookhaven Lab’s National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II)—a DOE Office of Science User Facility—where the technique was demonstrated. “In general, the electronic properties of domain walls can be different from those in the bulk of the material, and we can take advantage of this fact. Finding a way to control the domains and their walls by external perturbations is key to engineering devices that can efficiently store and process information.”

    From charge to spin

    Conventional electronics such as computer chips rely on the transport of electrical charge carriers, or electrons, to operate. As these charges move around, they dissipate energy in the form of heat, limiting device efficiency.    

    Spintronics exploits another intrinsic property of electrons: spin. Because electron spins can be flipped from one magnetic polarity to another much faster than charge can be moved around, devices based on spintronics can be intrinsically faster than today’s electronics.

    To date, most spintronic devices have been based on ferromagnets (FMs)—the type of magnets we are most familiar with, as seen on fridges and in computer hard drives. In response to an external magnetic field, the domains in FMs align in a parallel fashion according to the direction of the field.

    However, AFMs offer several advantages over FMs. For example, because the spins in AFMs cancel out, these materials have no large-scale magnetism. Thus, their spin orientation can be flipped even faster, and they do not generate stray magnetic fields that can interfere with other sources of magnetization. In addition, they are much more resilient to external magnetic fields.

    “Antiferromagnets are intrinsically better protected against losing information through interactions with the environment, including between domains,” explained senior author and Rutgers physics professor Valery Kiryukhin. “Thus, devices based on AFM materials can be made smaller, with information packed more closely together to yield higher storage capacity.”

    But the same characteristics that make AFMs appealing for spintronics also make these materials difficult to control.

    “In order to control them, we first need to answer very basic questions, such as how the domains are arranged in space and how they and their walls move in response to external perturbations like temperature changes, electric fields, and light pulses,” said Mazzoli.

    Antiferromagnetic reflections

    In this study, the scientists directed a coherent beam of x-rays from the CSX beamline through a circular pinhole to illuminate the magnetic order of an iron-based AFM sample synthesized by members of Rutgers’ Department of Physics and Astronomy, including Kiryukhin and first author and postdoctoral associate Min Gyu Kim. They set the beamline x-rays to an energy resonating with (close to) the energy of the spins in the material. A detector captured the intensity of the light as it reflected off the sample.

    “You can see the scratches on your cell phone screen when light reflects from that surface,” said Mazzoli. “We applied the same kind of principle here but relied on magnetic reflections instead of surface reflections. The magnetic reflections only appear within a very narrow boundary of scattering angles and conditions.”

    “Because the incoming beam is coherent—all the photons, or light particles, wave together in an organized fashion—we were able to directly see how two domains are different and how they interfere with one another,” said co-author Mark Dean, a physicist in Brookhaven Lab’s Condensed Matter Physics and Materials Science (CMPMS) Department. “The interference, as revealed in the detector patterns where there is a reduction in signal intensity, told us where the domain boundaries are.”

    Though this magnetic diffraction technique is well known, this study represents the first time it has been successfully applied to antiphase domain imaging in AFMs.

    “This completely new ability to image antiferromagnetic domain boundaries is only possible because of the superb coherence of the beamline,” said Ian Robinson, X-ray scattering group leader and senior physicist in the CMPMS Department. “The scattering contributions from two antiphase domains are exactly the same in magnitude. They differ only in their phase, which is picked up with coherent x-rays by interference on the detector.”

    In fractions of a second, a full picture of extended areas (hundreds of microns by hundreds of microns) of the sample is generated, without having to move any instrumentation. In other magnetic imaging techniques, a probe must be scanned over the surface at multiple points, or calculations are required to project the resulting detector patterns onto real-space images that our eyes can understand.

    “We are essentially taking a picture,” said Mazzoli. “The readout of all the pixels in the detector forms a full-field image in a single shot. Images covering even larger millimeter-size areas can be obtained by stitching together multiple images.”

    The speed of the technique makes it ideally suited for dynamic experiments. Here, the scientists studied how the magnetic domains changed in real time as they heated the sample to “melt” (remove) its antiferromagnetic order and cooled it to bring back the order in the form of the domain arrangement. They discovered that some of the domains were free to move with each thermal cycle, while others were not.    

    Going forward, the team plans to test the technique using other AFMs and different classes of materials. The team also plans to improve the current resolution of the technique to below 100 nanometers by reconfiguring the experimental setup. This improved resolution would enable them to determine domain wall thickness.

    “To design a spintronic device, you need to know the magnetic configuration of the materials,” said Dean. “Our hope is that we will eventually be able to use this technique to see how magnetism is working in close-to-device conditions.”

    The other Brookhaven co-authors are Hu Miao of the CMPMS Department and Andi Barbour, Wen Hu, and Stuart Wilkins of NSLS-II.

    The work was supported by DOE’s Office of Science.

    Brookhaven National Laboratory is supported by the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit science.energy.gov.

    Follow @BrookhavenLab on Twitter or find us on Facebook.

    X
    X
    X
    • Filters

    • × Clear Filters

    Ice Formed by Contact Freezing: Pressure Matters, Not Just Temperature

    Distortion of water droplet surface may increase the likelihood of the droplet freezing.

    Future Loss of Arctic Sea-Ice Cover Could Contribute to the Substantial Decrease in California's Rainfall

    A new modeling framework helps understand the consequences of future sea-ice loss in the Arctic.

    Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

    Magnetic field lines tangled like spaghetti in a bowl might be behind the most powerful particle accelerators in the universe. That's the result of a new computational study by researchers from the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, which simulated particle emissions from distant active galaxies.

    Argonne scientists maximize the effectiveness of platinum in fuel cells

    In new research from the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory and published in Science, scientists have identified a new catalyst that uses only about a quarter as much platinum as current technology by maximizing the effectiveness of the available platinum.

    Drawn into a Whirlpool: A New Way to Stop Dangerous Fast Electrons in a Fusion Device

    A new phenomena forms vortices that trap particles, impeding electron avalanches that harm fusion reactors.

    Barely scratching the surface: A new way to make robust membranes

    Argonne researchers have demonstrated a new technique's viability for membranes.

    During Droughts, Bacteria Help Sorghum Continue Growing

    Researchers discover how certain bacteria may safeguard plant growth during a drought, making way for strategies to improve crop productivity.

    Sierra Snowpack Could Drop Significantly By End of Century

    A future warmer world will almost certainly feature a decline in fresh water from the Sierra Nevada mountain snowpack. Now a new study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that analyzed the headwater regions of California's 10 major reservoirs, representing nearly half of the state's surface storage, found they could see on average a 79 percent drop in peak snowpack water volume by 2100.

    The Biermann Battery Effect: Spontaneous Generation of Magnetic Fields and Their Severing

    The mechanism responsible for creating intense magnetic fields in laser-driven plasmas also helps tear the fields apart.

    Compelling Evidence for Small Drops of Perfect Fluid

    Nuclear physicists analyzing data from the PHENIX detector at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) have published additional evidence that collisions of miniscule projectiles with gold nuclei create tiny specks of the perfect fluid that filled the early universe.


    • Filters

    • × Clear Filters

    DOE approves technical plan and cost estimate to upgrade Argonne facility; Project will create X-rays that illuminate the atomic scale, in 3D

    The U.S. Department of Energy has approved the technical scope, cost estimate and plan of work for an upgrade of the Advanced Photon Source, a major storage-ring X-ray source at Argonne.

    Costas Soukoulis elected to National Academy of Inventors

    Costas Soukoulis, Ames Laboratory senior scientist and Iowa State University Frances M. Craig Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor, has been named as a 2018 National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Fellow.

    Biophysicist F. William Studier Elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

    F. William Studier, a Senior Biophysicist Emeritus at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory and Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry at Stony Brook University, has been elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). He is among 148 renowned academic inventors being recognized by NAI for 2018.

    Blast to the future

    A grant from DOE's Technology Commercialization Fund will help researchers at Argonne and industry partners seek improvements to U.S. manufacturing by making discovery and design of new materials more efficient.

    Department of Energy to Provide $24 Million for Computer-Based Materials Design

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced plans to provide $24 million in new and renewal research awards to advance the development of sophisticated software for computer-based design of novel materials.

    Argonne scientists recognized for decades of pioneering leadership in research

    Argonne scientists Ali Erdemir and Jack Vaughey were named 2018 Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

    Kurfess, Smith join ORNL to lead advanced manufacturing initiatives

    Two leaders in US manufacturing innovation, Thomas Kurfess and Scott Smith, are joining the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory to support its pioneering research in advanced manufacturing.

    Four Berkeley Lab Scientists Named AAAS Fellows

    Four Berkeley Lab scientists - Allen Goldstein, Sung-Hou Kim, Susannah Tringe, and Katherine Yelick - have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest general scientific society.

    U.S. Department of Energy to Host Nationwide CyberForce Competition(tm) December 1

    Students from dozens of colleges/universities will participate in the U.S. Department of Energy's CyberForce Competition(tm) this weekend

    Seven ORNL researchers named 2019 INCITE award winners

    Seven researchers from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have been chosen by the Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment, also known as INCITE, program to lead scientific investigations that require the nation's most powerful computers. The ORNL-based projects span a broad range of the scientific spectrum and represent the potential of high-performance computing in ensuring America's scientific competitiveness and energy security.


    • Filters

    • × Clear Filters

    Ice Formed by Contact Freezing: Pressure Matters, Not Just Temperature

    Distortion of water droplet surface may increase the likelihood of the droplet freezing.

    Future Loss of Arctic Sea-Ice Cover Could Contribute to the Substantial Decrease in California's Rainfall

    A new modeling framework helps understand the consequences of future sea-ice loss in the Arctic.

    Drawn into a Whirlpool: A New Way to Stop Dangerous Fast Electrons in a Fusion Device

    A new phenomena forms vortices that trap particles, impeding electron avalanches that harm fusion reactors.

    During Droughts, Bacteria Help Sorghum Continue Growing

    Researchers discover how certain bacteria may safeguard plant growth during a drought, making way for strategies to improve crop productivity.

    The Biermann Battery Effect: Spontaneous Generation of Magnetic Fields and Their Severing

    The mechanism responsible for creating intense magnetic fields in laser-driven plasmas also helps tear the fields apart.

    Subtlety and the Selective Art of Separating Lanthanides

    Unexpected molecular interactions involving water clusters have a subtle, yet profound, effect on extractants picking their targets.

    Review Examines the Science and Needs of Nitrogen-Based Transformations

    Advances in biochemistry and catalysis could lead to faster, greener nitrogen-rich fertilizer.

    Quickly Capture Tiny Particles Reacting

    New method takes a snapshot every millisecond of groups of light-scattering particles, showing what happens during industrially relevant reactions.

    New Technology Consistently Identifies Proteins from a Dozen Cells

    A new platform melding microfluidics and robotics allows more in-depth bioanalysis with fewer cells than ever before.

    Optimal Foraging: How Soil Microbes Adapt to Nutrient Constraints

    How microbial communities adjust to nutrient-poor soils at the genomic and proteomic level gives scientists insights into land use.


    Spotlight

    Thursday October 11, 2018, 04:00 PM

    Research on Light-Matter Interaction Could Lead to Improved Electronic and Optoelectronic Devices

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

    Wednesday October 03, 2018, 07:05 PM

    Innovating Our Energy Future

    Oregon State University, College of Engineering

    Tuesday October 02, 2018, 03:05 PM

    Physics graduate student takes her thesis research to a Department of Energy national lab

    University of Alabama at Birmingham

    Friday September 21, 2018, 01:05 PM

    "Model" students enjoy Argonne campus life

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Thursday September 06, 2018, 01:05 PM

    Writing Code for a More Skilled and Diverse STEM Workforce

    Brookhaven National Laboratory

    Tuesday September 04, 2018, 11:30 AM

    New graduate student summer school launches at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    Friday August 31, 2018, 06:05 PM

    The Gridlock State

    California State University (CSU) Chancellor's Office

    Friday August 31, 2018, 02:05 PM

    Meet Jasmine Hatcher and Trishelle Copeland-Johnson

    Brookhaven National Laboratory

    Friday August 24, 2018, 11:05 AM

    Argonne hosts Modeling, Experimentation and Validation Summer School

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Wednesday August 22, 2018, 01:05 PM

    Students affected by Hurricane Maria bring their research to SLAC

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

    Wednesday August 22, 2018, 10:05 AM

    Brookhaven Lab Pays Tribute to 2018 Summer Interns

    Brookhaven National Laboratory

    Monday August 20, 2018, 12:05 PM

    Changing How Buildings Are Made

    Washington University in St. Louis

    Thursday August 16, 2018, 12:05 PM

    CSUMB Selected to Host Architecture at Zero Competition in 2019

    California State University, Monterey Bay

    Friday July 20, 2018, 03:00 PM

    Department of Energy Invests $64 Million in Advanced Nuclear Technology

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

    Thursday July 19, 2018, 05:00 PM

    Professor Miao Yu Named the Priti and Mukesh Chatter '82 Career Development Professor

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

    Tuesday July 03, 2018, 11:05 AM

    2018 RHIC & AGS Annual Users' Meeting: 'Illuminating the QCD Landscape'

    Brookhaven National Laboratory

    Friday June 29, 2018, 06:05 PM

    Argonne welcomes The Martian author Andy Weir

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Monday June 18, 2018, 09:55 AM

    Creating STEM Knowledge and Innovations to Solve Global Issues Like Water, Food, and Energy

    Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA)

    Friday June 15, 2018, 10:00 AM

    Professor Emily Liu Receives $1.8 Million DoE Award for Solar Power Systems Research

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

    Thursday June 07, 2018, 03:05 PM

    Celebrating 40 years of empowerment in science

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Monday May 07, 2018, 10:30 AM

    Introducing Graduate Students Across the Globe to Photon Science

    Brookhaven National Laboratory

    Wednesday May 02, 2018, 04:05 PM

    Students from Massachusetts and Washington Win DOE's 28th National Science Bowl(r)

    Department of Energy, Office of Science

    Thursday April 12, 2018, 07:05 PM

    The Race for Young Scientific Minds

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Wednesday March 14, 2018, 02:05 PM

    Q&A: Al Ashley Reflects on His Efforts to Diversify SLAC and Beyond

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

    Thursday February 15, 2018, 12:05 PM

    Insights on Innovation in Energy, Humanitarian Aid Highlight UVA Darden's Net Impact Week

    University of Virginia Darden School of Business

    Friday February 09, 2018, 11:05 AM

    Ivy League Graduate, Writer and Activist with Dyslexia Visits CSUCI to Reframe the Concept of Learning Disabilities

    California State University, Channel Islands

    Wednesday January 17, 2018, 12:05 PM

    Photographer Adam Nadel Selected as Fermilab's New Artist-in-Residence for 2018

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab)

    Wednesday January 17, 2018, 12:05 PM

    Fermilab Computing Partners with Argonne, Local Schools for Hour of Code

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab)

    Wednesday December 20, 2017, 01:05 PM

    Q&A: Sam Webb Teaches X-Ray Science from a Remote Classroom

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

    Monday December 18, 2017, 01:05 PM

    The Future of Today's Electric Power Systems

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

    Monday December 18, 2017, 12:05 PM

    Supporting the Development of Offshore Wind Power Plants

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

    Tuesday October 03, 2017, 01:05 PM

    Stairway to Science

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Thursday September 28, 2017, 12:05 PM

    After-School Energy Rush

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Thursday September 28, 2017, 10:05 AM

    Bringing Diversity Into Computational Science Through Student Outreach

    Brookhaven National Laboratory

    Thursday September 21, 2017, 03:05 PM

    From Science to Finance: SLAC Summer Interns Forge New Paths in STEM

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

    Thursday September 07, 2017, 02:05 PM

    Students Discuss 'Cosmic Opportunities' at 45th Annual SLAC Summer Institute

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

    Thursday August 31, 2017, 05:05 PM

    Binghamton University Opens $70 Million Smart Energy Building

    Binghamton University, State University of New York

    Wednesday August 23, 2017, 05:05 PM

    Widening Horizons for High Schoolers with Code

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Saturday May 20, 2017, 12:05 PM

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Graduates Urged to Embrace Change at 211th Commencement

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

    Monday May 15, 2017, 01:05 PM

    ORNL, University of Tennessee Launch New Doctoral Program in Data Science

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    Friday April 07, 2017, 11:05 AM

    Champions in Science: Profile of Jonathan Kirzner

    Department of Energy, Office of Science

    Wednesday April 05, 2017, 12:05 PM

    High-Schooler Solves College-Level Security Puzzle From Argonne, Sparks Interest in Career

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Tuesday March 28, 2017, 12:05 PM

    Champions in Science: Profile of Jenica Jacobi

    Department of Energy, Office of Science

    Friday March 24, 2017, 10:40 AM

    Great Neck South High School Wins Regional Science Bowl at Brookhaven Lab

    Brookhaven National Laboratory

    Wednesday February 15, 2017, 04:05 PM

    Middle Schoolers Test Their Knowledge at Science Bowl Competition

    Argonne National Laboratory





    Showing results

    0-4 Of 2215