Science Friday: TED Talks – You have no idea where camels really come from | Magneto-ionics could be a new alternative to electronics


Who would’ve thought camels would be so interesting?


Then there’s this

Magneto-ionics could be a new alternative to electronics

Our electronic devices are based on what happens when different materials are layered together: “The interface is the device,” as Nobel laureate Herbert Kroemer famously claimed over 40 years ago. Right now, our microchips and memory devices are based on the movement of electrons across and near interfaces, usually of silicon, but with limitations of conventional electronics become apparent, researchers are looking at new ways to store or process information. These “heterostructures” can also find applications in advanced batteries and fuel cells.

Now physicists at UC Davis have observed what’s going on at some of these interfaces as oxygen ions react with different metals, causing drastic changes in magnetic and electronic properties.

Ionic and electronic effects

Electronic devices operate, as the name implies, on the movement of electrons. But ions – here atoms with extra electrons and negative charges – can also move in and near interfaces and take part in magnetoelectric effects.

“Typically, the electronic structure is dominant, but now we’re realizing that the movement of ions is also important,” said Kai Liu, professor of physics at UC Davis and corresponding author on the paper published March 21 in Nature Communications. “If we can get a handle on ion movement, then we can get insight into how we alter the chemistry of these structures and their properties.”



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