Heusler Alloy Replacement for Iridium
Start date: Sep 1, 2013,
End date: Mar 31, 2017
The proposed HARFIR project intends to develop antiferromagnetic (AF) Heusler alloy (HA) films to replace the antiferromagnetic alloy Iridium Manganese (IrMn), which has been widely used in all spin electronic devices including hard disk drives and next-generation magnetic memories. Accordingly the price of Ir has risen by a factor of 4 in the last five years and by more than a factor of 10 in the last decade. It is expected to soar perhaps by a factor of 100 due to its wider applications.It is widely recognised that spin electronic technologies will displace volatile semiconductor memory technology within the next decade. Therefore the lack of availability of one crucial element from within the periodic table is a critical issue to be solved urgently.We therefore aim to replace Ir to reduce the cost of an AF film by a factor of 10 as compared with the current IrMn. We will combine our expertise in ab initio calculations and HA film growth techniques to seek a highly anisotropic AF HA films. These films will be characterised both structurally and magnetically using synchrotron beamlines, high-resolution (scanning) transmission electron microscopy and highly sensitive electrical and magnetic measurement facilities available within the consortium. We will demonstrate a device concept with the developed AF HA films at the end of this project, showing an exchange bias greater than 1 kOe in sheet form and a blocking temperature greater than 300K.To our knowledge we are the first group to realise the criticality of the position with regard to the supply of Ir. The developed AF HA films will be patented with the royalties shared equally among the partners in the EU-Japan consortium. The innovation within HARFIR is therefore extremely high.
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