Craig Fennie, assistant professor of applied and engineering physics, has received a Young Investigator Award from the Army Research Office Materials Science Program.
The three-year, $150,000 award will allow Fennie to conduct basic research into atomic-level design of materials known as multiferroic oxides, which have strong magnetoelectric responses. He will investigate how architecture, rather than composition alone, determines the multifunctional properties of inorganic materials.
Multiferroic oxides, in which a spontaneous magnetism coexists with and is strongly coupled to spontaneous electric polarization, are rare in nature, but could prove useful in computer electronics, Fennie said. Current computer storage technologies use energy-intensive electrical currents to read and write magnetic ones and zeroes that code information, but multiferroics could introduce a new low-power storage bit accessed through electric fields.