What is Spintronics?

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Spintronics (a neologism for "spin transport electronics"), also known as magnetoelectronics, is an emerging technology that exploits the intrinsic spin of the electron and its associated magnetic moment, in addition to its fundamental electronic charge

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Magnetic Thermal Annealing





MTA is an effective process to enhance the performance of magnetic devices and materials.

Thermal annealing involves raising, maintaining, and then slowly lowering the temperature of a material. Annealing allows the atoms inside of a solid to diffuse more easily to find their proper locations, and maintaining a solid at a high temperature lets it achieve equilibrium, eliminating many structural imperfections that would otherwise reduce its utility.

Annealing has been a widely used technique in metallurgy for quite some time.  However, a relatively new technique, called magnetic thermal annealing, puts a new spin on this age-old method.  The major difference between the two heat treatments is that in magnetic annealing, an external magnetic field is applied during the annealing process.  This has some very interesting effects, especially on ferromagnetic (FM) and antiferromagnetic (AFM) materials.

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What is Nanotechnology?
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By definition, nanotechnology refers to the fabrication of materials and devices on atomic and molecular scales.  Because the laws of quantum mechanics (very small scale) are vastly different than the laws of classical mechanics (very large scale), nanoscale materials and devices exhibit unique and often superior properties and performance.

Some current and potential applications for nanotechnology inclue;
- Extremely fast MRAM-based computing.
- Early stage cancer detection and elimination.
- A space elevator, made conceptually possible by the existence of carbon nanotubes.

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Magnetron Sputtering Technology

There are many different ways to deposit materials such as metals, ceramics, and plastics onto a surface (substrate) and to form a thin film.  Among these is a process called “SPUTTERING” that has become one of the most common ways to fabricate thin films.  Sputtering is a physical vapor deposition (PVD) process used for depositing materials onto a substrate, by ejecting atoms from such materials and condensing the ejected atoms onto a substrate in a high vacuum environment.

There are a number of ways to enhance this process.  One common way to do this is to use what is known as a magnetron sputtering system.  The main difference between this and a basic DC sputtering system is the addition of a strong magnetic field near the target area.  This field causes traveling electrons to spiral along magnetic flux lines near the target instead of being attracted toward the substrate.  The advantage of this is that the plasma is confined to an area near the target, without causing damages to the thin film being formed. Also, electrons travel for a longer distance, increasing the probability of further ionizing Argon atoms. This tends to generate a stable plasma with high density of ions. More ions mean more ejected atoms from the target, therefore, increasing the efficiency of the sputtering process. The faster ejection rate, and hence deposition rate, minimizes impurities to form in the thin-film, and the increased distance between the plasma and substrate minimizes damage caused by stray electrons and Argon ions.

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