Physicists create novel synthetic magnetic material with greater energy efficiency and performance

03/01/2014 - 00:00

By Caron Lett -

An international team of scientists led by physicists from the University of York has paved the way for a new class of magnetic materials and devices with improved performance and power efficiency.

Magnetic materials are currently used to store almost all digital information. However, with information processing and storage now making up a significant fraction of the world’s energy consumption, continuing improvements in energy efficiency will require new technologies and materials.

A promising development is all-optical thermally induced magnetic switching (TIMS), which uses ultrafast laser pulses to change the magnetic state of the material, equivalent to writing a single bit of data. In all-optical switching there is no need to use magnetic fields to write the data and so a significant reduction in power consumption can be made. Moreover, the deposited laser energy per written bit is much smaller.