The project ARTES (AntifeRromagnetic spin Transport and Switching) aims at studying a type of magnetic materials called antiferromagnets, to see if they are suitable for future information technology devices.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 793159.
Magnetism and magnetic materials
The matter is made of atoms and some atoms (the “magnetic” ones) can be considered as microscopic magnets, similar to the ones that go on the fridge, but much smaller. As one can say that matter is made of atoms, one can also say that magnetism is made by atomic magnets with north (N) and south (S) poles.
Fig. 1: atomic magnets are associated to the atoms of magnetic materials
A single atom does not generate strong magnetic effects, but all the atoms in a material can collectively generate a strong magnetic effect. Atomic magnets in a material can be ordered in two ways: ferromagnetically (parallel) or antiferromagnetically (antiparallel). One can see how the atomic magnets look like in Fig. 2. Iron is one example of ferromagnetic material, while nickel oxide is an example of antiferromagnetic material.
Fig. 2: internal magnetic moments in antiferromagnets have alternating orientation, in contrast to ferromagnets.
Antiferromagnetic materials are considered by some the ideal materials for future devices. This is due to their special properties, potentially leading to ultrafast, robust, high-density and low-power devices. Antiferromagnets might be used for a credit card that cannot be cancelled by magnetic fields or for memory drives that make the battery of your notebook last much longer than it does now. However, the same features that makes antiferromagnetic materials robust makes also them difficult to be probed and manipulated. The project ARTES tries to address these issues.
ARTES: spin transport and switching with antiferromagnets
With ARTES, we aim to study the efficient reading and writing of information in antiferromagnetic materials. Moreover, we will study if these are viable materials for the transport of spin information. See our news section for the latest information on our results.