Schiffer Lab

Novel magnetic materials and nanostructures are important technologically and also provide excellent model systems in which to explore new physics. Recent research in our group has focused on the study of frustrated magnetic nanostructures known as  ‘artificial spin ice’, composed of arrays of thousands of precisely arranged nanometer-scale magnets. 
 
Artificial spin ice systems are frustrated by design, in that no set of orientations of the magnetic poles can align the north and south poles of the magnets for every pair of neighboring magnets.  The advantage to studying these systems is that they are both designable and resolvable: i.e., we can control the array geometry, and we can also observe how individual elements of the arrays behave.  By choosing the right geometries, we can experimentally explore physical phenomena that are inaccessible in natural magnetic materials, and make close comparisons with theory.  The group studies both artificial spin ice systems and the material properties of relevant magnetic materials, employing magnetic force microscopy, photoemission electron microscopy, electronic transport, and bulk magnetization measurements in our experiments.

Recent Publications

Nature Physics 15, 191-195 (2019). Artificial spin-ice systems are magnetic metamaterials consisting of nanomagnet arrays that can be designed to study exotic magnetic states...
Nature Physics 14, 723–727 (2018).  Systems of interacting nanomagnets known as artificial spin ice have allowed the design, realization and study of geometrically frustrated...
Nature Physics 13, 200-203 (2017). Introduced originally to mimic the unusual, frustrated behaviour of spin ice pyrochlores, artificial spin ice can be realized in odd,...