This Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) at Johns Hopkins University is focused on one of the most important new research areas: science and technology of magnetoelectronics. Conventional microelectronic devices, such as microchips, use electric currents - the motion of electric charge as carried by electrons in metals and semiconductors - to control and manipulate information. However, in addition to charge, electrons possess an attribute known as "spin," which makes them tiny magnets, and it is the collective alignment of these spins in materials such as iron that leads to the phenomenon of magnetism. Spin alignment in magnetic materials is the basis of information storage on hard disks and magnetic tapes. In magnetoelectronics, dynamic control of electron spin allows one to transmit and manipulate information in new ways, and the first generation of "spintronic" devices--read heads for computer hard drives, have made possible the huge increase in information storage capacity in recent years and resulted in the explosive growth in computer-based technologies. Advances in this field require nanoscale control of materials properties and device architectures. This MRSEC brings together scientists and engineers with wide-ranging and complementary expertise to carry out research in several extremely promising areas of nanostructured materials for magnetoelectronics: (i) magnetic tunnel junctions that have potential for use in dynamic memory devices, (ii) the science of novel ring architectures for magnetoelectronic devices, (iii) organic semiconductor devices that have potential to expand magnetoelectronics into the rapidly developing field of low-cost, printable electronics, and (iv) nanostructures that will enable new approaches for the transport of spin information. The MRSEC's research activities will have far-reaching impact on a new generation of magnetoelectronics devices. The Center will foster interactions with relevant industries to leverage the expected scientific advances to realize fully their technological potential. As an integral part of its research program, the Center will provide interdisciplinary research training and education for post-docs, graduate students, and undergraduates, preparing them for careers at the cutting edge of science and engineering in industry, academia, and national laboratories. The Center's education outreach programs will encourage young people to pursue scientific careers, provide continuing education and new curricular material for teachers, and introduce the public to the excitement and importance of materials research. In all of these programs, the MRSEC will promote the participation of women and members of underrepresented groups.

Project Report

(MRSEC) at The Johns Hopkins University (JHU) on Science and Engineering of Magnetoelectronics features one Interdisciplinary Research Group (IRG) with 8 researchers from JHU, 1 researcher each from Brown University, Carnegie-Mellon University, and NIST. The IRG focuses on the exploration and development of fundamental science and technological applications with relevance to magnetoelectronics. Topics include spin transport in nanostructures in vertical structures and lateral structures, spin interconnects, magnetic nanorings, domain wall motion, half-metallic ferromagnets, organic spintronics, electrically tunable spin diodes, spin transfer torque driven magnetization switching, Andreev reflection spectroscopy, spin Seebeck effect, voltage-controlled spintronic devices with ultralow switching current, etc. Many of these topics are relevant to field-sensors in high-density magnetic recording, and non-volatile magnetic random access memories applications. For the duration of this MRSEC, the researchers published over 150 peer-reviewed high-quality publications in the premier journals in our fields. In addition, the JHU MRSEC had extensive educational outreach programs aiming primarily at three different groups: high school students, high school teachers, and undergraduates. Each summer, we accommodate about 7 high school students, 7 high school teachers, and 12 REU students working extensively with researchers in the MRSEC. The JHU-MRSEC has produced a large number of highly skilled researchers. Of the 12 post-docs, 9 are now tenure-track professors. Of the 29 Ph.Ds. granted, including 9 women and 1 African American woman, 5 are now tenure-track professors, and the rest are employed in industrial lab, government labs, and companies.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Materials Research (DMR)
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Daniele Finotello
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Johns Hopkins University
United States
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