After years of research, it was assumed that two-dimensional magnets might not exist at all and there might not be anything called 2D magnet. But bingo! Scientists have now come up with a proof. Yes, they have just discovered the first ever 2D magnet that possesses properties never ever seen yet.
With the creation of the minuscule magnets that are just one atom thick, the computers capable of solving the most challenging scientific problems and mysteries of deep space seems one step closer.
The new discovery could result in creation of super slim computers capable of performing such experiments that were previously impossible.
Magnetism in a single atomic layer has been discovered by the researchers from the University of Washington and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This could give birth to incredible new forms of data storage and technology.
The findings have been published in Nature. “What we have discovered here is an isolated 2-D material with intrinsic magnetism, and the magnetism in the system is highly robust,” said Xiaodong Xu, a professor of physics at the University of Washington.
“We envision that new information technologies may emerge based on these new 2-D magnets”, he added.
The discovered material is revolutionary and is called chromium triiodide, or CrI3. It has ‘spins’ of electrons acting like subatomic magnets and align in the same direction even without an external magnetic field.
Also, the newly discovered material features such properties that were never seen in multilayered, 3D forms, researchers said.
“Heterostructures hold the greatest promise of realising new applications in computing, database storage, communications and other applications we cannot even fathom yet,” said Dr Xu.
The atoms are considered 'functionally' two-dimensional as they are too tiny and the electrons only pass through the atomic sheet just like pieces in a chessboard.
Sticky tape was used by the researchers to create the 2D sheet in order to shave a monolayer off the 3D cystal form of chromium triiodide.
“Using Scotch tape to exfoliate a monolayer from its 3-D bulk crystal is surprisingly effective,” said co-lead author at the University of Washington and doctoral student Genevieve Clark.
“This simple, low-cost technique was first used to obtain graphene, the 2-D form of graphite, and has been used successfully since then with other materials”, he said.
These 2D monolayers provide awesome opportunities to study drastic new forms of magnetism, said researchers.
The researchers next want to stack these monolayers with different physical properties on top of one another which could result in even more exotic phenomena that has not been seen in 3D bulk crystals.
Researchers from the University of Sussex in February released the first practical blueprint of a quantum computer.
“It is the Holy Grail of science, really, to build a quantum computer,” said Professor Winfried Hensinger, head of the Ion Quantum Technology Group at the University of Sussex.
“Life will change completely. We will be able to do certain things we could never even dream of before.”
According to researchers, once built the capabilities of the computer mean it “would have the potential to answer many questions in science; create new, lifesaving medicines; solve the most mind-boggling scientific problems; unravel the yet unknown mysteries of the furthest reaches of deepest space; and solve some problems that an ordinary computer would take billions of years to compute.”