Researchers at the Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research (IFW) Dresden have developed minute magnets that form in vortices in mini disks.
Single magnets, it was found, can curl in either clockwise or anticlockwise directions within the disk. These states can be utilized in data processing in the way electricity is switched ‘on’ and ‘off’ in computers. The magnetic vortices can be powered by the inherent spin with less power consumption.
The vortex forms if the magnetic disks remain away from each other or are slightly bigger. The smallest data disks help users store more information in a space-efficient way. These disks feature tiny magnetic vortices and need to be packed closely together. The nano-magnets in each disk then begin to feel and interact with those in the adjacent disks. But this interaction is not enough for memory storage.
The team replaced the cylindrical structure of the disks with slanted edges. The magnets at the edges are forced to curl in the direction of the slant. This makes for a magnetic field perpendicular to the disk surface in the required direction. This is also an energy efficient solution.
The team kept small glass spheres measuring 0.30 thousandth of a millimeter (300 nanometers) in diameter on a thin magnetic layer. The spheres align themselves next to each other to form a mask of tiny hexagons with tiny spaces. When argon ions were directed at this layer, the atomic and electrically charged projectiles pierce the spaces between the spheres and coerce particles out of the magnetic layer beneath the gaps. The glass spheres function as a mask. During the process, the argon ions remove substance from the spheres, which constantly reduce in size. Finally the sphere diameter is only 260 nanometers. This allows the ions to reach areas located in the remotest corners of the disks emerging below the spheres. Since this process take less time, less substance is removed from the inside.