A research group led by Associate Professor Satoshi Nakatsuji of the University of Tokyo has succeeded in changing from an insulator to a metal by applying a weak magnetic field to a magnetic material made of niobium and iridium.New storage devices and magnetic sensors may be realized using this technology.
Ordinary substances do not change to a metal-like state that conducts electricity from an insulator due to changes in temperature or magnetic field.Such a phenomenon has been confirmed in some substances, but for that purpose, it is necessary to heat to a high temperature to change the arrangement of atoms inside, which requires a large amount of time and energy.On the other hand, in this research, when a magnetic field is applied to a substance made of niobium, which is a rare earth element, iridium, which is a transition metal element, and oxygen, it acts on the movement of electrons inside the atom from the insulator. I discovered that it turns into metal.
This proved that the combination of rare earths and transition metals makes it possible to change from an insulator to a metal by a magnetic field, which was previously thought to be impossible.Compared to the conventional method of heating to a high temperature, the magnetic field can be turned on and off at a very high speed and with less energy.It is expected that this can be used to create a memory that records "0" and "1" of digital information and a magnetic sensor that sends an electric signal by detecting a magnetic field.
In addition to the possibilities of industrial application, the impact of realizing what was previously thought to be impossible is enormous.The nature of solids is an area where a great deal of research is concentrated, both domestically and internationally.Research on phenomena that could not be realized with already known compounds will continue to progress.