Periodic Reporting for period 4 - AlterMateria (Designer Quantum Materials Out of Equilibrium)
Reporting period: 2020-12-01 to 2021-05-31
The energy consumption associated with information processing and storage is rapidly becoming unsustainable. The manipulation of magnetism and other collective quantum phenomena in solids using ultrashort pulses of light is a promising route towards implementing non-volatile and low-dissipation storage of information. In this project we address these questions in a class of materials recently discovered. We have demonstrated ultraefficient magnetic switching obtained by ultrafast control of the crystal lattice. In order to reach this goal, we developed bespoke materials engineered at the atomic scale.
Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far
For this project we have designed a new class of magnetic materials controlled at the atomic scale, where magnetism is strongly coupled to the exact atomic configuration of the crystal lattice. Such an unstable landscape is produced by design, in order to create a magnetic system susceptible to switching with ultralow dissipation.
Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)
Our ever-growing demand for data processing calls for new methods to manipulate and control the state of magnetic materials on short timescales. These materials host elementary magnetic moments, called spins, whose arrangement is mainly determined by the arrangement of the atoms in the crystal lattice. Therefore, the most natural route towards control of the magnetic state is to change the crystal configuration. High mechanical pressure is normally required to make a sufficient impact on magnetic properties,. However, applying a mechanical strain is intrinsically a very slow process. In our experiments we have found a solution to this problem. Using light to optically shake a magnet by resonantly stimulating specific atomic vibrations of the lattice, we were able to change its magnetic state.