Using nanoscale quantum sensors, an international research team has succeeded in exploring certain previously uncharted physical properties of an antiferromagnetic material. Based on their results, the researchers developed a concept for a new storage medium published in the journal Nature Physics. The project was coordinated by researchers from the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel.
Antiferromagnets make up 90 percent of all magnetically ordered materials. Unlike ferromagnets such as iron, in which the magnetic moments of the atoms are oriented parallel to each other, the orientation of the magnetic moments in antiferromagnets alternates between neighboring atoms. As a result of the cancelation of the alternating magnetic moments, antiferromagnetic materials appear non-magnetic and do not generate an external magnetic field.
Source: “Concept for a new storage medium”, University of Basel