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Newly discovered magnetic interactions may lead to novel methods to manipulate electron flow

A breakthrough in magnetic materials research could lead to novel ways to manipulate electron flow with much less energy loss
Graphical representation of the crystal structure of the TbMn6Sn6 material at the atomic level. Here the Mn and Tb atoms appear as blue and green balls, respectively. Lines connecting near neighbors reveal the Mn Kagome and Tb triangular lattices. The magnetism present with this element is represented by arrows situated on every individual atom. The magnetic interactions acting within and in-between the various atomic planes are displayed by the square brackets and labeled by the letter J with the subscript M and T used to denote the Mn or Tb elements they link. Credit: U.S. Department of Energy Ames National Laboratory

Newly discovered magnetic interactions in the Kagome layered topological magnet TbMn6Sn6 may be the key to customizing how electrons flow through these materials. Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory conducted an in-depth investigation of TbMn6Sn6 to raised understand the material and its own magnetic characteristics. These results could impact future technology advancements in fields such as for example quantum computing, magnetic storage media, and high-precision sensors.

Kagomes certainly are a kind of material whose structure is known as following a traditional Japanese basket weaving technique. The weave produces a pattern of hexagons surrounded by triangles and vice-versa. The arrangement of the atoms in Kagome metals reproduces the weaving pattern. This characteristic causes electrons within the material to behave in unique ways.

Solid materials have controlled by the characteristics of these electronic band structure. The band structure is strongly influenced by the geometry of the atomic lattice, and sometimes bands may display special shapes such as for example cones. These special shapes, called topological features, have the effect of the initial ways electrons behave in these materials. The Kagome structure specifically results in complex and potentially tunable features in the electronic bands.

Using magnetic atoms to create the lattice of the materials, such as for example Mn in TbMn6Sn6, can further help inducing topological features. Rob McQueeney, a scientist at Ames Lab and the project leader, explained that topological materials “have a particular property where consuming magnetism, you may get currents which flow on the edge of the material, which are dissipationless, meaning that the electrons don’t scatter, plus they don’t dissipate energy.”

The team attempt to better understand the magnetism in TbMn6Sn6 and used calculations and neutron scattering data collected from the Oak Ridge Spallation Neutron Source to conduct their analysis. Simon Riberolles, a postdoc research associate at Ames Lab and person in the project team, explained the experimental technique the team used. The technique involves a beam of neutron particles that is used to check how rigid the magnetic order is. “The type and strength of the various within the materials can all be mapped out by using this technique,” he said.

They found that TbMn6Sn6 has competing interactions between your layers, or what’s called frustrated magnetism. “Therefore the system must create a compromise,” McQueeney said, “Usually what which means is that should you poke at it, you may get it to accomplish various things. But what we discovered in this material is that despite the fact that those competing interactions is there, you can find other interactions which are dominant.”

This is actually the first detailed investigation of the magnetic properties of TbMn6Sn6 to be published. “In research, it certainly is exciting once you figure out you realize something new, or you measure a thing that is not seen before, or was understood partially or in another manner,” Riberolles said.

McQueeney and Riberolles explained that their findings suggest the material may potentially be adjusted for specific , for instance by changing the Tb for another rare earth element, which may change the magnetism of the compound. This fundamental research paves just how for continued advances in Kagome metals discovery.

This research is further discussed in the paper published in Physical Review X.

More info: S. X. M. Riberolles et al, Low-Temperature Competing Magnetic Energy Scales in the Topological Ferrimagnet TbMn6Sn6, Physical Review X (2022). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevX.12.021043

Citation: Newly discovered magnetic interactions may lead to novel methods to manipulate electron flow (2022, August 18) retrieved 19 August 2022 from

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