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The bigger, the better in magnetoresistance

Thursday, October 10, 2013 – Sarah Gilbreath

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Dr. Ramesh Mani’s upcoming publication in Nature’s Scientific Reports shows that a giant magnetoresistance effect depends on the size of the device used in the system.

Magnetoresistance is the electrical resistance to a magnetic field. This effect can be used to detect magnetic fields in objects like computer hard drives and cooling fans, and wheel speed sensors in automobiles.

Dr. Mani’s team studied magnetoresistance in thin sheets of electrons, and found that under a magnetic field, wide devices develop a smaller and quicker change. Small devices, on the other hand, develop a bigger but slower change. This new discovery will be applied to research on technologies that work with semiconductors.

Dr. Mani is a professor of physics and astronomy at Georgia State University, and worked with Annika Kriisa from Emory University and Werner Wegscheider from the ETH-Zurich in Switzerland. The research was funded by grants from the U.S.  Department of Energy and the U.S. Army Research Office.