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11/28/2014

Thinfilmproducesnewchemistryin'nanoreactor'ScienceDaily

Thinfilmproducesnewchemistryin'nanoreactor'
Date:

November19,2014

Source: UniversityofGroningen
PhysicistsattheUniversityof
GroningenledbyProfessorof
FunctionalNanomaterials
BeatrizNohedahave
discoveredanewmanganese
compoundthatisproducedby
tensioninthecrystalstructure
ofterbiummanganeseoxide.
Thetechniquetheyusedto
createthisnewmaterialcould
openthewaytonew
nanoscalecircuits.Their
findingswerepublishedon20
November2014inthejournal
Nature.
Theresearchersgrewavery
thinlayer(nomorethanafew
dozenatomsthick)ofthe
terbiummanganeseoxide
crystalonathickerbaselayer
ofstrontiumtitaniumoxide.
Thisbaselayeraffectsthe
growthofthethinlayer.When
piecesofgrowingcrystal
meet,aninterfaceor'domain
wall'develops,andthecrystal
structurecomesundertensile
stressinthiswall.

Twomirrorimagedomains(terbiumingreen,manganeseinred,oxygennot
shown)meetatadomainwall,whereterbiumatomsaresqueezedoutand
replacedbymanganese(redcross).
Credit:CopyrightNature

Nanoreactor
Untilafewyearsago,materialsscientistswhencreatingverythinlayerstriedtopreventdomainwallsfromoccurring
becauseofthistensilestress.'Domainwallswereseenascontamination',saysNoheda.Thenitbecameclearthatthe
tensioninthecrystalstructureactuallyinvestedthematerialwithnewproperties,and,ashasnowbecomeapparent,
thedomainwallcanbecomeananoscalechemicalreactor.
Walls
TheGroningenresearchershavegainedalotofexpertiseincontrollinghowmanydomainwallsdevelop.The
compositionofthebaselayeraffectsthis,forinstance,andthethinnerthecrystallayer,thegreaterthenumberof
wallsthatoccur.
'Alongsidecontrollinghowmanywallsdevelop,afurtherconsiderablechallengewastoanalyseexactlywhathappens
inawall,asthisisgenerallyonlyoneatomthick',saysNoheda.Onewaytoanalysethematerialinthewallisto
comparesamplescomprisingdifferentnumbersofwalls.Theresearcherssawthatthemorewallstherewere,themore
magneticthematerialwas.'Directobservationofamagneticfieldisnotyetpossibleontheatomicscale,particularly
notinanisolator',saysNoheda.
Zigzagline
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141119132558.htm

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11/28/2014

Thinfilmproducesnewchemistryin'nanoreactor'ScienceDaily

Anadvancedatomicresolutionchemicalanalysiswasusedtoshowthatthecompositionofthecrystalinthewallshad
changed:inspecificlocationsamanganeseatomhadtakentheplaceofalargerterbiumatom.Theterbiumatom
formsakindofzigzaglineinthecrystalstructure.Twoopposingzigzagsmeetinthedomainwall,thuscausingsome
oftheterbiumatomstocomeintoverycloseproximity.'Thiscreatessignificanttension,theterbiumatomdisappears
fromthecrystal,andasmallermanganeseatomtakesitsplace',explainsNoheda.
Newchemistry
Incontrasttothenormalcrystal,thisextramanganesemakesthewallmagnetic.ProfessorofTheoreticalPhysics
MaximMostovoyoftheUniversityofGroningenmodelledthemagnetism,andhisresultsmatchtheresultsofthe
experiment:'Abondthathasnotyetbeendescribedoccursbetweenfivemanganeseatoms.Wethereforeseenew
chemistryinthedomainwall.'Thismakesthedomainwallakindofnanoscalechemicalreactor.'Andwesuspectthat
thiskindofnewbondwilloccurinallcrystalswiththiszigzagstructure.'
Nohedahopesinfurtherresearchtogeneratewallswiththepotentialtoformcircuits.Minutecircuitsofonlyafew
atomsinsizecouldthendevelop.'ButIalsohopethatchemistswillsettoworkonthesenanoreactors.'
ZIAM
BeatrizNohedaandMaximMostovoybothworkattheZernikeInstituteforAdvancedMaterials(ZIAM),partofthe
UniversityofGroningen'sFacultyofMathematicsandNaturalSciences.TheZIAMisatopnationalresearchinstitute.
Noheda'sresearchisfundedbyNanoNextNl,aconsortiumof130partnersincludinguniversities,membersofthe
businesscommunityandtheauthoritieswhocollaborateinthefieldofmicrotechnologyandnanotechnology,andby
FOM,theFoundationforFundamentalResearchonMatter.
StorySource:
TheabovestoryisbasedonmaterialsprovidedbyUniversityofGroningen.Note:Materialsmaybeeditedforcontent
andlength.
JournalReference:
1. S.Farokhipoor,C.Magn,S.Venkatesan,J.iguez,C.J.M.Daumont,D.Rubi,E.Snoeck,M.Mostovoy,C.de
Graaf,A.Mller,M.Dblinger,C.Scheu,B.Noheda.Artificialchemicalandmagneticstructureatthedomain
wallsofanepitaxialoxide.Nature,2014515(7527):379DOI:10.1038/nature13918
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UniversityofGroningen."Thinfilmproducesnewchemistryin'nanoreactor'."ScienceDaily.ScienceDaily,19
November2014.<www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141119132558.htm>.

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