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Article | Center for Nanoscale Materials

Rewritable Artificial Magnetic Charge Ice

Artificial ices enable the study of geometrical frustration by design and through direct observation.

However, it has proven difficult to achieve tailored long-range ordering of their diverse configurations, limiting both fundamental and applied research directions. A team of researchers using the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM) designed an artificial spin structure that produces a magnetic charge ice with tunable long-range ordering of eight different configurations. Also developed was a technique to precisely manipulate the local magnetic charge states and demonstrate write-read-erase multifunctionality at room temperature. This globally reconfigurable and locally writable magnetic charge ice could provide a setting for designing magnetic monopole defects, tailoring magnonics, and controlling the properties of other two-dimensional materials. By introducing a new artificial spin structure and techniques to globally and locally control its spin configurations, a magnetic charge ice was achieved with long range ordering of eight different configurations and realize write-read-erase multi-functionality in a magnetic charge-ordered crystal at room temperature, demonstrating the first application of artificial ices. This new methodology to design tailored artificial ice states may lead to their application for data storage, memory, and logic devices, or in magnonics to study spin waves in nanostructures.

Sample patterning via electron beam lithography and SEM imaging were performed in the CNM clean room of the Nanofabrication & Devices Group. A combination of 2D magnetic fields and a magnetic tip manipulated local charge configurations, and magnetic force microscopy imaging of magnetic charge ice states were performed in Argonne’s Materials Science Division.

Rewritable artificial magnetic charge ice”, Yong-Lei Wang et al., Science 352, 962 (2016)

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