Department: Electrical & Computer Engineering
Research Institute Affiliation: Center for Magnetic Recording Research (CMRR)
Faculty Advisor(s): Eric Fullerton

Primary Student
Name: Jonathan J Sapan
Email: jsapan@ucsd.edu
Phone: 858-534-7532
Grad Year: 2014

Semiconductor technology is at a cross-roads. Power consumption in microprocessors has risen steadily, to the point where removing waste heat has become a serious obstacle. Continuing to reduce transistor dimensions will make these problems worse, while approaching size regimes where conventional devices will cease to function altogether. Magnetic devices may offer solutions. Magnetic technologies have the potential to be fast and low power, while also being inherently non-volatile, promising "instant on" computers. Manipulating magnetism in densely integrated nanostructures previously required applying local magnetic fields, necessitating large currents and complicated devices. However, reversal of magnetization in films by currents in the absence of large magnetic fields is now well-established.1 Magnetic memories (MRAMs) based upon moving magnetic domain walls with currents have also been proposed. Spintronics - the manipulation and detection of electron spin - has generated substantial interest, in part because spin currents may flow without dissipating energy. Spintronic logic devices have also been proposed. Recent experiments showed changes in the magneto-crystalline anisotropy (MCA) energy at the near surface (<5 nm) of FePt and FePd upon the application of an electric field. While magnetoelectric (ME) effects have long been known, earlier reports were confined to exotic materials and low temperatures, making applications impractical. ME effects in transition metal surfaces have been predicted to arise by a variety of physical mechanisms; however a clear understanding of which mechanisms play the most significant roles is lacking. We report on progress in applying large electric fields to nanometer-scale magnetic transition metal films.

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