Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

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09/03/2016: Spintronics – Halle scientists develop new manufacturing process for ultra-thin layers

Better materials for storage and information technology: Physicists at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics (MPI) have developed a new and simpler method for the production of ultra-thin layers of yttrium iron garnet. For the first time the special magnetic properties of this material can thus be utilized in thin films for spintronics. In the future, the size of new electronic components which can be used for information processing can be reduced. The results were recently published in the journal "Scientific Reports" of the Nature Publishing Group.

So far, the layers of yttrium iron garnet (YIG) only a few nanometers thick were prepared at very high temperatures. But the quality was worse than in thicker layers. Within the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 762 "Functionality of Oxide Interfaces" the Halle scientists now have successfully produced YIG layers at room temperature and at the same time improved the magnetic properties of the thin layers. Magnetic materials are used today in information and storage technology to develop ever smaller and faster memory, but also to replace the classic transistor in the future.

07/03/2016: Physicists of Leipzig University develop composite materials for the memory cells of the future

Physicists at the University of Leipzig have developed new, so-called multiferroic composite materials that may be used in data storage cells in the future. Currently an intensive search for such materials is going on world-wide, which allow controlling the magnetic action with an electric signal or vice versa. This could lead to the production of previously unknown and pioneering electronic components such as "magneto-electric" sensors or data storage. The findings have been published in the prestigious journal "Advanced Materials Interfaces".

The experimental physicists Prof. Dr. Michael Lorenz and Prof. Dr. Marius Grundmann of the Institute of Experimental Physics II use a novel concept: Extremely thin layers of a multiferroic and a ferroelectric material are alternately stacked. Both materials are oxides, and the periodical layer stack structure is called a superlattice.

Prof. Grundmann explains: "Our superlattices confirm the conceptual idea of the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 762, in which this work is funded, namely that oxide materials with interfaces have new and improved properties. Our work makes magnetic materials compatible with microelectronics."

In the coming months Lorenz and Grundmann want to explore the physical coupling effect between magnetic and electric fields even further, so that soon first "magneto-electric" storage demonstrators can be presented.

23/02/2016: Recent publication – Vortices of light drive electrons

Scientists at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have designed a new method to drive electric charge with light. So-called optical vortices, consisting of light rays, are thereby acting like a water wheel and transport electric charge from a reservoir into the desired electrical conduction bands. The results have just been published in "Scientific Reports" of Nature Publishing Group.

Optical vortices are considered one of the most interesting new developments in optics and are potentially relevant for many applications, e.g. data transmission in communication technology.