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On New Year's Eve, one of Russian research laboratories produced... a Christmas nano-tree.

Scientists at the Fryazino branch of the Institute of Radio Engineering and Electronics of the Russian Academy of Sciences were the ones who were directly involved in “growing” this miniature symbol of the festive season, but the material suitable for this work was developed by the researchers of Lobachevsky University at the laboratory of spin and optical electronics of the Physics and Technology Research Institute (РTRI).

It is known that to increase the information recording density on magnetic media, it is necessary to create magnetic materials with the smallest possible dimension of individually magnetized areas. One of the options is to use 8-10 nm thick CoPt alloy films with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy. Research results show that in such films it is possible to control the creation of locally magnetized nanoscale regions and the formation of magnetic skyrmions.

One of the members of the research group, Associate Professor of the UNN Department of Physics of Semiconductors and Optoelectronics, A.V. Kudrin comments:

“The Christmas nano-tree grown by our colleagues is a good example of how an array of magnetic regions with a given direction of magnetization can be formed. The magnetic probe of an atomic-force microscope magnetizes the specified areas of the CoPt film grown by us, and subsequent scanning of the entire area of the “picture” allows us to reveal the distribution of magnetization over the surface of the area and thus demonstrate this distribution of magnetization as a desired pattern”.

The image of the nano-tree, as well as a short video showing the stages of its construction, can be found on the ResearchGate.net portal (“How to grow a magnetic Christmas tree”). The original paper on CoPt magnetic film control technology was published in the journal “Physics of the Solid State”.