Research News

Antiferromagnetic hybrids achieve important functionality for spintronic applications

Discovery may lead to faster and more energy-efficient computers

Antiferromagnets have zero net magnetization and are insensitive to external magnetic field perturbations. These spintronic devices, as they are called, hold great promise for creating future ultra-fast and energy-efficient information storage, processing and transmission platforms, researchers have discovered, potentially leading to faster and more energy-efficient computers. 

To be useful for applications in everyday life, however, the devices need to operate at room temperature. One of the key ingredients in realizing antiferromagnetic spintronics -- the rotational movement, or spin, of an electron, which can affect magnetic strength and direction -- is the injection of spin current at the antiferromagnetic interface, researchers say.

A team led by Igor Barsukov of the University of California, Riverside, along with colleagues at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, the University of Utah and the University of California, Irvine, has now demonstrated efficient spin transport in an antiferromagnet/ferromagnet hybrid that works up to room, rather than icy-cold, temperatures.

Results of the study, which was supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, appear in Physical Review Research. "Our results demonstrate a significant advancement toward the realization of room temperature antiferromagnetic spintronics devices," said Barsukov.