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Unravelling the secrets of spintronic materials with neutron scattering

Carlsberg Foundation Reintegration Fellowships

What

In this project I will study so-called antiferromagnetic spintronics. These materials have the potential to outperform present-day computing and storage technology by orders of magnitude, but only if the right materials are found. In this project, I will investigate a family of materials that has shown promising properties in this direction. Most excitingly, these materials are functional at room temperature, which is a rarity in condensed matter research. I will synthesize new members of this family of materials and investigate their spintronic properties, mainly using neutron scattering techniques. This research will deepen our understanding of antiferromagnetic spintronics and help pave the way to develop computing technology that is far superior to the current state of the art.

Why

To make use of antiferromagnetic spintronics we need a complete picture of how and why they work. The field of antiferromagnetic spintronics is still in its infancy: the spintronic properties of the family of materials I will study were discovered only 5 years ago. There are thus many open questions to be answered, and many theoretical models that are yet to be tested experimentally. Part of my project will be to test some of these models, providing theorists with data that either supports or rejects their models. In another part of my project I will synthesize new members of this family, and investigate how the properties depend on their composition. This will provide a new method to tune the spintronic properties to specific purposes.

How

This project is experimentally focused. I will synthesize the desired materials in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Oxford, and characterize and analyze the materials using standard laboratory techniques in Copenhagen. Denmark, Sweden and the rest of Europe are currently building the worlds most advanced neutron scattering source, The European Spallation Source (ESS), in Lund. This facility will yield orders of magnitude gains compared to existing facilities, and will thus push the limits of what can be measured. Using instruments at ESS I will reveal the magnetic structure and dynamics of the materials that I study. I will use this information to uncover the secrets behind their spintronic properties.

SSR

The development of e.g. Artificial Intelligence, neural networks, and analysis of "Big Data" all require extreme amounts of computation power and storage space. To meet these demands we need new materials. My research will help pave the way for new spintronic materials that will eventually replace current hard disks, RAM and processors, offering orders of magnitude improvements in computation power and storage space.