CCMR symposium to explore nanoscale spin

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John Carberry

Ever since it was discovered that electrons and other elementary particles exhibit intrinsic angular momentum, or spin, scientists have tried to understand, manipulate and exploit these quantum characteristics for next-generation memory and sensing technologies.

The theme of this year’s Cornell Center for Materials Research symposium, May 20, will be recent advances in measuring and controlling nanoscale spin systems.

Headlining the symposium will be Albert Fert, winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize in physics. Fert is scientific director of a joint laboratory of the French National Center for Scientific Research and the company Thales; emeritus professor at University Paris-Sud; and a member of the French Academy of Sciences.

Fert is considered a founding father of spintronics, the practice of exploiting the intrinsic spin and associated magnetic moment of electrons. He received the Nobel for his role in the discovery of giant magnetoresistance, a quantum mechanical effect in thin films of alternating ferromagnetic and nonmagnetic layers. That discovery contributed significantly to the advancement of hard drives, with large increases in memory and storage capacities.

Fert will give the Sproull Lecture at 1:30 p.m. His talk is titled “New Directions in Spintronics: Magnetic Skyrmions, Spin-orbitronics.”

Cornell speakers include: Robert Burhman, the John Edson Sweet Professor of Engineering in the School of Applied and Engineering Physics and senior vice provost for research, on spin torques in magnetic multilayer nanostructures; Greg Fuchs, assistant professor of applied and engineering physics, on understanding spin-phonon interactions; and Eun-Ah Kim, assistant professor of physics, on spin torque in topological insulator/ferromagnetic metal bilayers.

The event will also feature a research poster session in the Physical Sciences Building atrium.

Registration and further information:

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