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Electric-read magnetic-write nanodevices


The applied science of addressing memory elements. Ferromagnetic and ferroelectric materials are sometimes used as data storage media to encode information. I propose to investigate thin film heterostructure nanodevices in which these two ground states compete and cooperate to create extra degrees of freedom in the read-write process. Specifically, I am looking to encode information electrically and read it magnetically. This is because it is easy to write electrically and read magnetically, but the reverse statements are not true. I will therefore combine the best aspects of the existing technologies, namely, the electric-write process of FRAM, and the non-volatility and magnetic-read processes of disc-drives and MRAM. Two oxide materials systems will be explored by growing epitaxial films using pulsed laser deposition:
1)Multiferroic materials. These are single phase and ferromagnetic, ferroelectric and ferroelastic. It may be possible to address them both electrically and magnetically.
2)Ferromagnetic/ferroelectric heterostructures. By electrically writing information into a ferroelectric layer that displays strong piezoelectric effects, it will be possible to generate elastic strains that can be used to write magnetic information into an adjacent ferromagnetic layer.

Nanoscale proof-of-principle devices will be fabricated in the new Cambridge Nanotechnology Centre from films of the above materials systems. A scientific study of mesoscopic texture will be simultaneously undertaken in the materials described above. There is now widespread interest in textures that extend over intermediate (sub micron) length scales. I will study such textures using the electron microscopy suite of the host institute. Exploitation. The research is novel because the materials systems required to co-host coupled ferromagnetic and ferroelectric order are in their infancy.

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The Old Schools, Trinity Lane
United Kingdom