A two-dimensional magnet, designed by scientists, can find applications in computing and electronics, as well as new tools for the study of quantum mechanics.
The magnetic component of modern storage devices usually consists of thin magnetic films, which, meanwhile, remain three-dimensional. Their thickness is equal to hundreds or even thousands of atoms. Scientists have long been looking for a way to create two-dimensional magnets that would allow more data to be stored on a single device.
There have been results in this area, but modern 2D magnets lose their properties at room temperature and become unstable. They require extremely low temperatures to maintain magnetism. Scientists from the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California have successfully solved this problem. The work was published in the journal Nature Communications.
"We are the first to create a two-dimensional magnet that can retain its properties at room temperature," said Jie Yao, senior study author and research associate in the Berkeley Laboratory of Materials Science and Assistant Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of California.
The development will open up new possibilities for quantum mechanics, since it can be used to study the interactions of individual atoms. It is surprising, by the way, that it does not lose its properties not only at room temperature, but also at 100 degrees Celsius.
The magnet was created on the basis of zinc oxide doped with cobalt. In just a few hours of baking in an ordinary laboratory oven, the mixture turned into a single atomic layer of zinc oxide with a small number of cobalt atoms sandwiched between graphene layers. At the last stage, the graphene burned out, leaving only an atomic layer of zinc oxide doped with cobalt.
The technology does not present any difficulties, therefore the authors of the work believe that their material can be launched into mass production at minimal cost.