– Molecular Beam Epitaxy of Antiferromagnets



Theme and goal 

The QuSpin molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) group is a new experimental group. Our primary goal is to develop the synthesis of new high-quality materials with potential for spintronics research and application. Our primary method to achieve this goal is called “molecular beam epitaxy.” This technique uses an ultra-high vacuum environment to guide atomic or molecular beams onto a target, where a crystalline layer will grow. Using this method, we can create very high-quality crystals with thicknesses down to a single atomic layer. It is also possible to combine different materials to create new physical properties and control them in detail or to create nano-objects like quantum wires and quantum dots.


Key questions 

Our initial research will revolve around the growth of so-called antiferromagnetic semiconductors and helimagnetic materials. Antiferromagnetic semiconductors are central to our research since they combine the potential for new spintronics applications with the possibility to manipulate the material characteristics by using electric fields (similar to today’s semiconductor technology.This would enable the integration of established semiconductor technology principles and spintronics applications. Our research in this part will therefore focus on developing the growth of suitable materials, in which we will search for ways to manipulate and use their spin properties.

Helimagnetic systems will be the second research area of our group. These materials are very interesting because of their complex magnetic structure. They can host for example so-called ‘Skyrmions’. These are, simply said, stable magnetic whirls inside the material and are promising due to their potential as nano-objects for future low energy memory devices. We will develop the growth of materials that host helimagnetic or skyrmionic structures even at room temperature and which are therefore interesting for room temperature applications.

Using MBE growth for magnetic materials will enable us to create, control and investigate new, high-quality materials that can be used in spintronics research and applications. Furthermore, the control down to single atomic layers will enable us to tailor the material properties such that we can enhance important characteristics or even create new ones. We will use this to search for model systems, which can for example realize the properties found in QuSpins theory groups, as well as develop materials with relevance for device application.


For current activities, see QuSpin Annual Report 2019.

MBE lab foto

MBE lab photo

MBE Lab Photo

MBE Lab Illustration

Illustration of molecular beam epitaxy growth of an antiferromagnetic layer on a non-magnetic substrate.