Home Invention Magnetic graphene switches between insulator and conductor

Magnetic graphene switches between insulator and conductor

Researchers have found that certain ultra-thin magnetic materials can switch from insulator to conductor under high pressure, a phenomenon that could be used in the development of next-generation electronics and memory storage devices.

Magnetic graphene, or iron trithiohypophosphate (FePS3), is from a group of materials known as van der Waals materials and was first integrated during the 1960s. In the previous decade, specialists have begun taking a gander at FePS3 with open-minded perspectives. Like graphene – a two-dimensional type of carbon – FePS3 can be exfoliated into ultra-thin layers. But unlike graphene, however, FePS3 is magnetic.

The articulation for electrons’ intrinsic source of magnetism is known as ‘spin’. Spin influences electrons to act somewhat like little bar magnets and point a specific way. Magnetism from the arrangement of electron turns is utilized in most memory gadgets, and is vital for growing new innovations, for example, spintronics, which could change the manner by which computers process data.

In spite of graphene’s exceptional strength and conductivity, the way that it isn’t magnetic limits its application in zones, for example, magnetic capacity and spintronics, thus analysts have been looking for magnetic materials which could be joined with graphene-based gadgets.

Now, scientists at the University of Cambridge have discovered that certain ultra-thin magnetic materials can switch from insulator to conductor under high pressure. This is a phenomenon that could be used in the development of next-generation electronics and memory storage devices.

During the study, scientists squashed layers of FePS3 together under high pressure (about 10 Gigapascals), they found that it switched between an insulator and conductor, a phenomenon known as a Mott transition. The conductivity could also be tuned by changing the pressure.

These materials are portrayed by weak mechanical powers between the planes of their crystal structure. Under strain, the planes are squeezed together, steadily and controllable pushing the system from three to two measurements, and from an insulator to a metal.

Dr. Sebastian Haines from Cambridge’s Department of Earth Sciences and Department of Physics said, “The researchers also found that even in two dimensions, the material retained its magnetism. Magnetism in two dimensions is almost against the laws of physics due to the destabilizing effect of fluctuations, but in this material, it seems to be true. The materials are inexpensive, non-toxic and easy to synthesize, and with further research, could be incorporated into graphene-based devices.”

“We are continuing to study these materials in order to build a solid theoretical understanding of their properties. This understanding will eventually underpin the engineering of devices, but we need good experimental clues in order to give the theory a good starting point. Our work points to an exciting direction for producing two-dimensional materials with tuneable and conjoined electrical, magnetic and electronic properties.”

Scientists also noted that the outcomes will aid in understanding the dynamic relationship between the electronic and structural properties of the material, referred to as ‘magnetic graphene’, and may represent a new way to produce two-dimensional materials.

The study is published in the journal Physical Review Letters.

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