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In the media

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Could a new metal nanosponge material eliminate energy wastage in computing and mobile devices?

Currently some 40% of the electrical energy used by computers is dissipated as heat. The ICN2’s Theory and Simulation Group, led by CSIC Research Prof. and ICN2 Director Pablo Ordejón, and Prof. Josep Nogués of the Magnetic Nanostructures Group have lent their expertise to a project led by the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona to develop and understand the properties of a new nanomaterial to address this efficiency issue.

(l-r: Dr Ramón Cuadrado, Dr Roberto Robles, CSIC Research Prof. and ICN2 Director Pablo Ordejón, Prof. Josep Nogués)

ICN2 researchers have participated in an ERC Consolidator Grant project looking to drastically reduce overall power consumption in information processing and storage devices. The SPIN-PORICS solution is based on the magnetic properties of a new nanoporous material developed to offer a very high surface area. A crucial detail, given that the physical process being exploited, magnetic switching, extends just a few nanometres from the surface of the material and so, by increasing the surface area at the nanoscale, the magnitude of the desired effect is also increased.

Featured this week in the Advanced Functional Materials journal, the new material is described as resembling a “metal nanosponge”, with internal pores measuring just a few nanometres in diameter, and could be the basis for new high-efficiency magnetic memories for computers and mobile phones.

Leading the research is Jordi Sort, ICREA research professor and lecturer at the UAB’s Department of Physics, for whom these findings “represent a new paradigm in energy-saving in computers, and in computing and the handling of magnetic data in general”.

Based on codes developed as part of the EU-supported MaX Centre of Excellence, the work of ICN2 researchers Dr Ramón Cuadrado, Dr Roberto Robles and CSIC Research Prof. and ICN2 Director Pablo Ordejón, leader of the Theory and Simulation Group, served to provide the theoretical calculations needed to understand what is going on inside this new material. Meanwhile, Prof. Josep Nogués, leader of ICN2 Magnetic Nanostructures Group, contributed to the development and magnetic measurement of the new material.

Paper reference:

A. Quintana, J. Zhang, E. Isarain-Chávez, E. Menéndez, R. Cuadrado, R. Robles, M. D. Baró, M. Guerrero, S. Pané, B. J. Nelson, C. M. Müller, P. Ordejón, J. Nogués, E. Pellicer, J. Sort. Voltage-Induced Coercivity Reduction in Nanoporous Alloy Films: A Boost toward Energy-Efficient Magnetic Actuation. Adv. Funct. Mater. 2017, 1701904. DOI: 10.1002/adfm.201701904

Information via: UAB newsroom