More specifically, it is a new type of ferromagnetism that occurs in an artificially produced material. As members of the research team noted and wrote about: natureThe magnetic moments in this material are equated in a completely different way than what happens in the case of classical magnets.
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To create this material, scientists layered thin layers of two different semiconductor materials on top of each other. Molybdenum disulfide and tungsten disulfide were distributed in very thin layers. Where contact occurred, there was a periodic two-dimensional potential with a lattice constant up to 30 times larger than the semiconductor constant.
This potential can be filled with electrons by applying an electric potential. Using a similar approach, scientists have previously conducted research on the quantum effects of strongly interacting electrons. However, magnetic properties remained a much bigger mystery.
A new type of magnetism described by scientists affiliated with ETH Zurich has been observed in the material they designed
This breakthrough came recently with measurements related to electron filling and potential magnetism. In such conditions, the magnetic moments will be randomly oriented, resulting in ferromagnetism. During the experiments, the researchers directed a laser beam at the designed material and measured the reflection of light at different polarizations.
Note that polarization refers to the direction in which the electromagnetic field of the laser light oscillates. The direction of magnetic moments affects whether a material will reverse one polarization more strongly than the other. Based on this difference, scientists can calculate whether the spins are pointing in the same direction while also determining the magnetization.
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As it turns out, adding electrons to the lattice caused the tested material to become ferromagnetic at some point. Since the change did not happen immediately, scientists became certain that some previously unknown influence led to the emergence of ferromagnetism. Over time, researchers came to the conclusion that they could have observed what physicist Yusuke Nagaoka wrote about in 1966. As the Japanese claimed, by directing their spin in the same direction, electrons reduce their kinetic energy, which is much greater than the exchange energy.
Experiments conducted several decades later showed that ferromagnetism in the designed material occurs when there is more than one electron at each location in the lattice. This means that electron pairs can combine into so-called doublets, and the kinetic energy is limited as these pairs propagate through the lattice by quantum mechanical tunneling. Importantly, this only happens when the individual electrons in the lattice align their magnetic spins.
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