Varying Ferromagnetism in a Single Material
(PSI, July 12, 2013)
Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute have managed to grow a material that is simultaneously ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic. They grew layers of LuMnO3 on a crystal and found that close to the crystal the material exhibited ferromagnetism, but became antiferromagnetic farther away. The material's structure adapts itself to that of the underlying crystal, which creates this gradient. While varying ferromagnetism has previously been created by layering materials, this is the first time the feat was achieved in a single material. This has implications for the design of compact digital storage media.