A US scientist has been conducting research that it is hoped will lead to the creation of nano-tech magneto-electronic storage devices on the scale of billionths of a metre.
"The smaller space one bit of information can occupy, the more data you can get into a device and the faster it can operate," he said.
Zhu's group has fabricated patterned magnetic films by depositing magnetic materials such as Permalloy and cobalt in patterns of dots, squares or ellipses across a surface of non-magnetic substrates such as carbon or silicon nitride.
As each dot measures about 100 nanometres across, these materials could serve as building blocks for new nano-scale magneto-electronic devices and data storage media.
"For digital communication and data storage applications, such as magnetic recording media, you need two stable states to encode the 'ones' and 'zeros' of digital information," Zhu said.
In his array of magnetic dots, the two states are the two distinct spin orientations, or polarities, of the dots' internal magnetic fields.
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