This futuristic discovery could open a gateway to powering technological devices

Antiferromagnetic insulators are advantageous in spintronic applications because of their low stray fields and rapid magnetic dynamics. Controlling their magnetization and reading their magnetic state is critical for these applications, but they are challenging.

Scientists demonstrated the novel effects experimentally by combining lanthanum ferrite (LaFeO3) with a layer of platinum or tungsten. This layered coupling generated a new phenomenon that could develop a new power source for these—and other—budding technologies.

Examining the world of atomic-scale particles at nano-lives of electrons requires considerable magnification (literally). It also necessitates an understanding of various features of electrons, such as their “spin,” charge, and ability to cause heat flow when traveling through a material.

The movement of electrons through a material generates an electric current and heat current—a heat current results when an external electromagnetic field is applied to materials that conduct electricity.

The discovery illuminates “how heat flows in a magnetic insulator, [and] how [researchers] can detect that heat flow,” says Gregory Fiete, a physics professor at Northeastern and co-author of the research. The novel effects, published in Nature Physics this week and demonstrated experimentally, were observed by combining lanthanum ferrite (LaFeO3) with a layer of platinum or tungsten

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