Scientists discover a surprising quantum effect in cobalt-iron alloys that are often found on hard drives that can affect the storage of information.
The effect is related to the control of the direction of the electronic spin. Findings could lead to the development of more powerful and more efficient materials for storing information.
Quantum effects of cobalt-iron alloy materials
The researchers explained that the effect includes something called "depreciation", in which the direction of an electronic spin affects how the material scatters energy. Allan Heinonen, one of the authors of the study, compared the process with a car that was traveling along the highway.
"When you drive your car on a flat highway without wind, the energy of traction dissipation is the same, regardless of the direction you are traveling," said
Heinonen, who is a material scientist from the US National Argon Laboratory for Energy. "With the effect we have discovered, it's like dragging your car experience more if you're traveling north-south than if you are traveling east-west."
He explained that in their study, they found that magnetic cushioning had a significant effect in layers of cobalt-iron alloys of nanochesters. This comes as a surprise because the material is used with magnetic hard drives for decades. It is generally known that the material has no preference for the direction of the electron and the magnetization.
However, the researchers continued that in the past scientists were preparing alloys by burning at high temperatures. The process regulates the cobalt and iron atoms in a regular grid that eliminates the target effects.
For uncovered cobalt-iron alloys, cobalt and iron atoms do not follow the same arrangement. Instead, cobalt and iron atoms sat on each of the other spaces.
"In a crystal structure, atoms normally sit at perfectly regular intervals in a symmetrical arrangement," the press release said. "In the crystalline structure of certain alloys, there are slight differences in the separation between atoms that can be removed through the baking process, these differences remain in" uncovered material ".
Shrinking the material at atomic level
further alters the separation of atoms, leading to various interactions between atomic spins in the crystalline environment. This is why the damping effect of magnetization changes with the direction of the electronic spin.
Magnets could indicate improvements in the storage of information
The researchers believe that their findings appear
in the journal Physical Review Letters
can lead to the development of better hard disk materials. The acquisition of the control of the direction of the electronic rotation of the material, and thus the magnetization can enable the storage of information
and is accessed from a smaller space
Findings could be applied in other fields, including the development of more energy-efficient electric motors, magnetic bearings and generators.