Scientists create material that is quantum halfway house between magnet and semiconductor

August 21st, 2008 - 1:55 pm ICT by ANI  

London, August 21 (ANI): An international group of scientists has created a new material that is neither a magnet nor an ordinary semiconductor, by combining the semiconductor silicon and the ferromagnet iron with a small amount of manganese.

Professor J.F. DiTusa of Louisiana State University has revealed that the new material exists in a quantum halfway house between magnet and semiconductor, just like ceramics with high temperature superconductivity exist in quantum halfway houses between metals and magnetic insulators.

This advancement attains significance because it suggests new mechanisms for controlling electrical currents and magnetism in semiconductor devices.

“It’’s amazing that something which was thought to exist theoretically in mathematical physics could actually be found in an alloy which was simply formed by melting together a few common elements,” Nature magazine quoted DiTusa, a co-author of the research paper, as saying.

Professor Gabriel Aeppli of University College London, another member of the research team and Director of the London Centre for Nanotechnology, added: “It might be possible to see similar effects in devices made using materials and methods found in laser pointers. This would put what we”ve seen firmly in the realm of that which can easily be achieved using current technologies.”

The first author of the paper, Dr. N. Manyala of the National University of Lesotho, said: “We are looking forward to investigating whether we can see these effects using thin layers of the same materials deposited directly on the silicon wafers. These wafers are the same as those used by mass market electronics manufacturers as the basis for integrated circuits.” Dr. Ramirez, who is now with LGS-Bell Labs Innovations echoed this thought, noting that, “with the end of Moore’’s law in sight, mechanisms for controlling and understanding possible new information bits such as spins in solids are actively being sought after.” (ANI)

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