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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/S95800/01
Title: Epitaxial magnetic nanostructutres
Principal Investigator: Ward, Dr RCC
Other Investigators:
Petford-Long, Professor A Cowley, Professor R
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Oxford Physics
Organisation: University of Oxford
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 September 2004 Ends: 30 November 2007 Value (£): 440,195
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials Characterisation Materials Processing
Materials Synthesis & Growth
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Electronics
Related Grants:
GR/S95824/01 GR/S95817/01
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
It is now possible to create devices that exploit the spin rather than the charge of the electron. Spin valves, which are layered magnetic structures, are already employed as read heads In computers, and this has led to dramatic improvements in data storage densities. Magnetic tunnel junctions are leading contenders for the next generation of read-out devices, and for a non-volatile magnetic alternative to semiconductor-based random-access memory. However there are many unresolved materials issues in tunnelling magnetoresistance, such as what is the optimum insulating layer, how do we achieve the highest spinpolarisation from the ferromagnetic layers, and what is the origin of the exchange-biasing mechanism that pins one of the ferromagnetic layers? The growth of epitaxial magnetic tunnel junctions will allow us to test theoretical models for the electronic structures of these systems using magnetisation and transport measurements and the application of novel neutron and synchrotron x-ray scattering techniques. More sensitive read-out devices allow ever-decreasing grain sizes and this means that the highest density recording media of today are fast approaching the limits of thermal stability. We will grow, pattern, and investigate epitaxial R-M films and multilayers, which combine high magnetic anisotropy (and therefore excellent thermal stability) with strong temperature dependencies suitable for alternative data writing schemes. R-M magnetic dot arrays will be investigated as model recording media with either in-plane or perpendicular magnetisation directions. Micromagnetic modelling will be used to analyse our results.
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Organisation Website: http://www.ox.ac.uk