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Trinity College Dublin

Multiferroic tunneling junctions

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Lead PI: 
Prof. Stefano Sanvito
Spintronics plays an important roll in modern technology. Most notable is the discovery of the the giant magneto resistance (GMR) effect, where the current through a non-ferromagnetic spacer sandwiched between two ferromagnetic layer is strongly affected by the external magnetic field. This discovery has revolutionized the read head in hard disks, allowing the increase in storage density of an order of magnitude. Ferroelectric materials are also starting to play an important roll as non-volatile ferroelectric RAM. However to read from such a memory is significantly slower than from standard memory, since the data is wiped by the reading process.Combining ferroic attributes in a single device may allow devices to be created that bypass the problems of each single ferroic attribute, allowing the creation of a range of new multiferroic devices. Currently no usable single phase material exists, any usable device would most likely need to be a heterostructure of ferroic materials. In this work we intend to calculate from first principals the surface structure and the transport characteristics of a tunneling junction where the spacer material is replaced with a ferroelectric material.
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