Spin-dependent transport is a widely used, yet poorly understood, phenomenon. Giant magnetoresistive (GMR) devices and magnetic tunnel junctions (MTJ) are being developed for use in magnetic recording heads, magnetoresistive random access memories (MRAM), and magnetic sensors for industrial and biomedical applications. The goal of this research opportunity is to develop a better fundamental understanding of spin-dependent transport in magnetic metals, normal metals, conducting oxides, and semiconductors. Research areas include understanding spin polarization in exotic materials, examining the effects of interfaces, and looking at the nanomagnetic structure that gives rise to noise and device-to-device variation. This research involves fabrication of novel magnetic devices such as GMR, MTJ, and spin-transfer devices using a state-of-the-art, eight-source, ultrahigh vacuum deposition system and a combination of optical, electron-beam, and scanned-probe lithography. Electrical measurements, over a wide range of temperature, field, and frequency, will be used to characterize spin-dependent transport properties with a particular emphasis on high-frequency and noise properties of the devices. Lorentz and magnetic force microscopy will be used to characterize nanoscale magnetic structures. New types of dynamical nanoscale imaging, such as those based on ballistic electron magnetic microscopy (BEMM), will be developed.
BEMM; GMR; Magnetic sensors; MRAM; MTJ; Nanoscale magnetic structure; Spin-dependent transport; Spintronic materials;