Packing a punch

By | November 1, 2016

John Heron, assistant professor of materials science and engineering, and colleagues have engineered a material that could lead to a new generation of computing devices—packing in more computing power while consuming nearly 100 times less energy than today’s electronics require. Known as magnetoelectric multiferroic material, it combines electrical and magnetic properties at room temperature and relies on a phenomenon called “planar rumpling.” The new material sandwiches together individual layers of atoms, producing a thin film with magnetic polarity that can be flipped from positive to negative or vice versa with small pulses of electricity. “That electrical control is what excites electronics makers, so this is a huge step forward,” Heron noted.