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PRL Editors’ Suggestion: Computing with Paramagnetic Spin Excitations

Jülich, 13 July 2017 – If a way could be found to store and process information on single atoms, this could help to increase current computing and storage capacity many times over. Researchers throughout the world from science and industry have pursued this very aim, predominantly investigating atoms that possess a magnetic moment. The specific orientation of these moments is intended to serve as a unit of information in these approaches. Jülich researchers have now shown, however, that it might also be worth investigating non-magnetic materials. Their publication in Physical Review Letters (PRL) was highlighted by the journal in Editors’ Suggestions.

With the aid of computer simulations, the physicists discovered that atoms from the group of transition metals that do not possess a magnetic moment can still be magnetically excited. These paramagnetic spin excitations are not suitable for stable data storage but might potentially be useful as a processing unit. As less energy is required for the excitations than is needed for the orientation of magnetic moments, they might make energy-efficient computing possible using very little space. In their publication in PRL, the researchers also report on how their findings could help to obtain fundamental data concerning non-magnetic atoms on surfaces by means of experiments.

This work has been supported by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020 (ERC Consolidator Grant 681405 – DYNASORE) and by the Postdoc Programme of the Initiative and Networking Fund of the Helmholtz Association.

Quantum Theory of Materials (PGI-1/IAS-1)

Young Investigators Group: Functional Nanoscale Structure Probe and Simulation Laboratory (Funsilab)

Original publication:

J. Ibanez-Azpiroz et al., Tuning paramagnetic spin-excitations of single adatoms; Phys. Rev. Lett. 119, 017203 – veröffentlich online am 7. Juli 2017; DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.119.017203

Press contact:

Angela Wenzik
Forschungszentrum Jülich
Tel: +49 2461 61-6048
Email: a.wenzik@fz-juelich.de