HANNOVER MESSE 2018, 23 - 27 April
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Research & Technology

Electricity can switch magnets

The combination of electrical and magnetic material properties is ideal for computer technology where data is transmitted as electrical signals but stored magnetically.

20 Feb. 2018
Roland Ackermann
Electricity can switch magnets (Foto: Jacob Listarbarth / TU Wien)

For a long time magnetic material properties were influenced by magnetic fields and electrical properties by electrical voltage. The material class of multiferroics combines both properties. We’ve already witnessed interesting experiments on the coupling of magnetic and electrical effects in the past , but now, for the first time, a team of researchers led by Prof. Dr. Andrei Pimenov from the Institute for Solid State Physics at the Vienna University of Technology has been able to control high-frequency magnetic oscillations of a material made of iron, boron, and rare soils with electric fields .

The material contains triple positively charged iron atoms. They have a magnetic moment that oscillates at a frequency of 300 GHz. The researchers were able to prove that these oscillations can be selectively varied by an electric field. A dynamic magnetic effect, in other words, a magnetic vibrational state of the iron atoms, can thus be turned on or off by a static electric field.