The main goal of the project is the elaboration of research and development principles and technology, as well as creation of novel nanoheterostructures for application in spintronic devices, first of all, in magnetic field sensors and magnetoresistive random access memories. The key research and technological aspects are focused on the formation of layers and/or nanosized grains of a ferromagnetic material with an ultimate degree of conduction electron spin polarization, separated by dielectric interlayers. The main research, technological and innovation aspects of the work are aimed at an increase of the devices’ sensitivity to magnetic fields thanks to the high degree of spin polarization and to the magnetoresistance due to electron quantum tunneling through dielectric barriers.
The proposed creation methods of the device prototypes can be rapidly implemented in the automotive, electronic and biomedical industries by means of a rather simple technology, which makes them attractive for the industry across the EU, as only the standard technological equipment is used. The new generation spintronic devices to be developed in the present project will possess high sensitivity, speed performance and low energy consumption.
The project aims as well at the creation of a stimulating and interdisciplinary training partnership, with actors from the academia and private sector, promoting the exchange of ideas, methods, techniques as well as enabling an accelerated technology transfer from science to industry through a continuous collaboration between the stakeholders. Working on spintronics demands strongly innovative and interdisciplinary skills, since there is a lot of pressure from the private sector to develop new original solutions for the modern devices. Training of the high-level personnel possessing complementary interdisciplinary skills is thus a key issue.
SPINMULTIFILM project comprises the following Work Packages:
Work Package 1 – Synthesis of metal-oxide compounds on the base of SFMO
The SFMO compound will be obtained by the solid-phase synthesis method. Its solid solutions will be obtained in the same way as a result of the doping by rare-earth elements. Targets of the required geometry needed for a subsequent thin films deposition will be prepared by the pressing method with use of plasticizers. The SFMO compound in the form of nanosized powder, for a deposition of the single-layer films with dielectric shells, will be obtained by the modified solgel method. Control and optimization of materials properties, such as crystal lattice parameters and phase composition will be determined by the XRD, and magnetic properties will be defined by the magnetization measurements data.
Work Package 2 – Creation of nanoheterostructures with dielectric interlayers
A complete information concerning the properties of the SFMO compounds doped with rare-earth elements and sol-gel nanopowders will be obtained as the solutions of the tasks of WP1. This makes it possible to efficiently solve the WP tasks concerned with the formation of nanoheterostructures. A process of the creation of multilayer structures requires the realization of the stepwise sputtering of magnetic and dielectric layers. The formation of single-layer films on the base of the SFMO sol-gel nanopowders with dielectric shells will be carried out by the single-step process.
Work Package 3 – Characterization and simulation of nanoheterostructures
Crystal structure, phase and element compositions of the “magnetic-dielectric” multilayer films will be controlled by XRD, ESCA, and EDX after each stage of the sequential sputtering, which will make it possible to optimize their formation processes. The films will be studied by SEM and TEM to obtain data on their thickness and cross-section structure. Temperature dependences of the magnetization in zero-field cooling (ZFC) and field-cooling (FC) modes in the temperature range 4.2–300 K and magnetic fields up to 12 T will be investigated. Investigations of the temperature dependences of electrical resistivity will enable the determination of the dominant electron scattering mechanisms in the presence of the dielectric barriers. The measurements of temperature and field dependences of magnetoresistance will allow to determine the nature of the magnetoresistive effect. A theoretical simulation of the spintronic properties of the nanoheterostructures will be carried out on the base of the analysis of experimental data on magnetic and magnetoresistive characteristics.
Work Package 4 – Prototyping of spintronic devices
The principles of the creation of spintronic devices will be based on the novelty of physical and engineering-technical solutions as compared with the earlier known ones, and on the improvement of the technical characteristics of devices from the viewpoint of the efficiency of the spintronic properties. A problem of the adaptation of two types of the “magnetic-dielectric” nanoheterostructures, formed as a result of the realization of the WP3 tasks, to several types of spintronic devices will be solved. An application of these structures in such devices as controlled magnetic field sensors and magnetic random access memory (MRAM) units, functioning on the base of the tunneling magnetoresistance (TMR), is envisaged as the most prospective one.
Work Package 5 – Knowledge exchange and outreach activities
A continuous monitoring of the mobility of the researchers will be performed in frames of this task. The individual summary reports after each mission will be collected. The knowledge present and generated in the project will be managed and thus made available to the beneficiaries/partners. Knowledge will also be distributed in regular meetings of all project beneficiaries/partners. The publications in high impact journals which offer “open source” option will be aimed in order to ensure wider access of the community to the project results. Presentations on the important conferences in the area will be given. The main aim of outreach activities is to disseminate the information about the project and the Marie Curie actions to the wider society. In frames of the project topical workshops, open days for young people, publications in various printed and electronic media will be organized. The project participants will lecture on such occasions, but it will be fruitful to invite also external speakers. The secondment periods will include training activities via seminars and joint experiments in order to share and adjust experimental procedures and skills. This time will be also used to plan, discuss and prepare joint publications and presentations to disseminate the project results. An Intellectual Property strategy will be established and described in the Consortium Agreement. Foreground shall be protected and it is the property of the party carrying out the work. Where work has been carried out jointly and where their respective share of the work cannot be ascertained, the joint ownership of such foreground should be arranged.
Work Package 6 – Coordination
The University of Aveiro (Coordination) will be responsible for periodic project reporting and monitor timely submission of deliverables. In frames of the organization of a reliable communication between the EU project office and SPINMULTIFILM, the following activities will be undertaken by the Coordinator:
• a) Signing of Consortium agreement;
• b) Preparation, delivery and follow-up of administrative and financial documents;
• c) Communication with the EC according to the EC Grant Agreement (GA);
• d) Following and updating the project indicators (Gantt chart, manpower matrix, deliverables list), identification of possible delays and support to any relevant requests;
• e) Ensuring that clear and effective coordination strategy exists between fellows and SPINMULTIFILM project management bodies;
• f) Preparation and coordination of project meetings together with the local hosts and Supervisory Board (including minutes);
• g) Representation of the project with any external body;
• h) Implementation of the decisions of the Project Management Office;
• i) Establishing the routines for SPINMULTIFILM project reporting and collecting the progress reports from beneficiaries/partners;
• j) Ensuring that scientific/technical objectives are achieved, deliverables and reports are sent to the Commission on time;
• k) Providing the implementation of an effective transfer of knowledge between academic and industrial beneficiaries/partners in the SPINMULTIFILM project;
• l) Ensuring that beneficiary/partner meetings are scheduled and performed according to the overall plan.
Work Package 7 – Ethics requirements
This work package sets out the ‘ethics requirements’ that the project must comply with.