College of Science & Engineering
This group is using MSI for two projects, both related to the search and study of new magnetic materials:
- The development of Fe-N based permanent magnets. The high demand for permanent magnets for clean energy applications and the geopolitical issues of rare-earth (RE) elements make it a priority to develop RE-free magnets. This group has taken a lead in the study of iron nitride magnets and demonstrated the great potential of Fe16N2. Understanding the electronic structure and magnetic properties of Fe16N2 is important to facilitating the design of Fe-N based RE-free permanent magnets. To this end, the researchers must perform density functional theory (DFT) calculations, which will help them understand, on the atomic level, the intrinsic properties of Fe16N2, as well as the effects of various engineering factors such as strain, doping, and vacancy. In addition to electronic structure calculations, they will do micromagnetic and Monte Carlo simulations to design high-performance magnets. The simulations are important to guide the experiment, and help explain some experimental observations.
- Study of new topological insulators for spintronic applications. Spin-orbital torque (SOT) has demonstrated great capabilities for efficient switching of ferromagnetic layers and is one of the most promising device prototytes in spintronics. Topological insulators (TI) intrinsically have large spin-orbital coupling, thus are suitable for SOT devices. The group is working on growing new TI materials. To facilitate the experimental work, they carry out DFT calculations to predict whether a material is topological, and if so, whether it is suitable for SOT devices. This work requires many band structure calculations.