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Rice University researchers have simplified the synthesis of a unique, nearly two-dimensional form of iron oxide with strong magnetic properties that is easy to stack atop other 2-D materials.
The material, epsilon iron(III) oxide, shows promise as a building block for exotic nanoscale structures that could be useful for spintronic devices, electronic or storage applications that take advantage of not only the charge of electrons but also their spin states.
Researchers - Rice - Brown - School - Engineering
Researchers at Rice's Brown School of Engineering and Wiess School of Natural Sciences reported in the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters that they had produced oxide flakes through simple chemical vapor deposition. The flakes are easily transferable from their growth substrates and retain their magnetic properties over the long term at room temperature.
"Iron oxide is nothing new," said Rice materials scientist and co-principal investigator Jun Lou. "But this epsilon phase is very rare. In epitaxial growth (in which the crystal aligns with the atomic structure of the surface), the bonding is strong and crystals are hard to transfer. But one of the features of this crystal structure is that it has relatively weak interaction with the substrate. You can pick it up and put it on different things."
Material - Properties - Room - Temperature - Materials
"An ultrathin magnetic material like this, which maintains its magnetic properties up to room temperature and can be integrated with other materials by stacking, is very exciting," said Rice physicist Doug Natelson, a co-principal investigator with Lou and Scott Crooker of Los Alamos National Laboratory. "It will be a great testing ground for seeing how magnetic properties act across interfaces, an important aspect relevant to future information technologies."
Lou said the material is technically not 2-D, because of the prismlike orthorhombic atomic structure that gives the lattice its unusual properties. "But basically, it has all the features of a 2-D magnet," he said.
He said other...
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