Siphoning spins


A News & Views piece I wrote for Nature has just appeared.

Topological insulators are well-known for their exotic electron-transport properties. A Letter out in this week describes how the spin-polarized currents at the surface of a topological insulator can be used to generate large spin-transfer torques in a transition metal ferromagnet. These torques are at least an order of magnitude larger than those generated by the spin Hall effect with heavy-metal substrates.

Diamonds provide relief to magnetic landscapes


Reference: J.-P. Tetienne et al., “Nanoscale imaging and control of domain-wall hopping with a nitrogen-vacancy center microscope”, Science 334, 1366-1369 (2014).

Are diamonds a physicist’s best friend? Using specially engineered diamonds, scientists at the École Normale Supérieure de Cachan in France, in collaboration with researchers at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Paris-Sud University, have devised a new way to map the landscape for magnetic objects on the nanometer scale. The technique opens up many possibilities for more energy-efficient microelectronic devices and increased information storage in the near future. It seems diamonds may provide the glimmer of hope that proponents of this technology seek.

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