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A New Way to Look at Nanomagnets

Small magnetic devices, on the scale of 100 nanometers across, are coming into use for memory devices and are being investigated for new signal processing applications. However, these devices are so small that there has been no way to measure directly how the magnetization structure within a device changes as a function of time during device operation. CNS researchers have now developed an electrical method that can both excite and detect spatially-dependent magnetization oscillations in samples 100 nanometers (400 atoms) wide and smaller. The motions within the magnet are organized in a sequence of standing wave modes, analogous to the standing waves on a guitar string or on a drumhead that give different sounds. Now for the first time we can measure and begin to optimize these magnetic modes in a single nanomagnet. This work should lead to improvements in the writing speeds of magnetic memory devices and the development of other high-speed applications of nanomagnetism .

[Lead CNS Investigators: R. A. Buhrman and D. C. Ralph]

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