The discovery of new quantum materials with magnetic properties could bring ultra-fast, more energy efficient, and sustainable computers and mobile devices.

Quantum Breakthrough In Sweden 

A research team at team at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have reported making a quantum breakthrough by being the first to make a device made of a two-dimensional magnetic material that works in at room temperature. Previous efforts have only seen new quantum materials with magnetic properties work in extremely cold temperatures.

Two-Dimensional Magnetic Materials 

The search for two-dimensional magnetic materials has been motivated by the rapid IT expansion generating vast amounts of digital data that needs to be stored, processed, and communicated, and the ever-increasing need for energy.

The Two-dimensional magnetic materials that are being researched and developed to help meet these challenges are formed in sheets and are only a few atoms thick.

Following the development of graphene, a single atom-thick plane of graphite, that resulted in the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics, two-dimensional materials with magnetic properties were discovered for the first time in 2017.

A First – 2D Magnet-Based Devices At Room-Temperature 

In this latest discovery, researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have been able to demonstrate, for the very first time, a new two-dimensional magnetic material-based device at room temperature. The material is an iron-based alloy (Fe5GeTe2) with graphene which can be used as a source and detector for spin polarized electrons.

Bing Zhao, post-doc in Quantum Device Physics and first author of the study said of discovery: “These 2D magnets can be used to develop ultra-compact, faster and more energy-efficient memory devices in computers. They may also be used to develop extremely sensitive magnetic sensors for a wide range of applications, including biomedical and environmental monitoring, navigation, and communication.” 

What Does This Mean For Your Organisation? 

Two-dimensional quantum materials such as these magnetic ones are more sustainable because they are atomically thin, and they offer unique magnetic properties. This makes them ideal for developing new energy-efficient and ultra-fast applications for sensors and advanced magnetic memory and computing concepts. For computer and device manufacturers, if at the right price, these materials could enable a new generation of ultra-fast, more energy efficient, and sustainable devices. All of these qualities are likely to be appealing to end customers too, and the discovery of these quantum materials with magnetic properties could open up a range of new opportunities in many different markets for a wide variety of devices and offer a more environmentally friendly component in a world that’s already struggling to deal with a climate crisis and a growing pile of electronic waste.