Old Spintronic Material May Make a Comeback
A lot of science is about moving on from failure, as serendipitous discoveries are simply not common. Sometimes when you move on you take with you knowledge to improve new systems, and other times the only knowledge you have is to not try what you already did again. For manganese and gallium nitride, the latter seemed to be true, but researchers at Ohio University have made a discovery that suggests otherwise.
About ten years ago, researchers were very hopeful that a combination of manganese and gallium nitride could be used to create spintronics. Eventually these materials were abandoned because they simply would not work together and researchers moved on to other materials. After running some simulations though, the Ohio researchers took another look at these materials and found a way to combine them that could make the combination viable. This new method relies on the nitrogen polarity of gallium nitride, instead of the gallium polarity, to attach the manganese atoms, and uses heat to more permanently bond the different atoms.
An important property of the new material is that it is stable at room temperatures and higher, which will be useful for some applications. However, this work could still prove to be a failure as the new molecular structure the researchers created may not have the magnetic properties at room temperature needed for spintronics.
Source: Ohio University