The study led researchers at the University of Washington (UW) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US have first-time discovered a single layer of atoms or magnetism in the 2-D world of monolayers. It may pave a way to more compact, reliable and efficient devices along with sensing and hard-disk storage.
A professor of physics and of materials science and engineering at the University of Washington, Xiaodong Xu said, “What we have discovered here is an isolated 2D material with intrinsic magnetism, and the magnetism in the system is highly robust.” “We envision that new information technologies may emerge based on these new 2-D magnets”, he further added.
Another group of researchers including Michael McGuire at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory that manages the US Department of Energy showed that Crl3 in its multilayered, 3-D, bulk crystal form is ferromagnetic. That means it has some properties of the magnet. The “spins” of fundamental electrons, similar subatomic, tiny magnets, align in the same direction even without an external magnetic field in ferromagnetic materials. Till now, no 3-D magnetic substance had previously retained its magnetic properties when thinned down to a single atomic sheet. Monolayer materials can show unique properties that are not seen in their multilayered, 3D forms.
Bevin Huang, a doctoral student at UW said, “You simply cannot accurately predict what the electric, magnetic, physical or chemical properties of a 2D monolayer crystal will be based on the behavior of its 3D bulk counterpart.” Another doctoral student Genevieve Clark said, “Using Scotch tape to exfoliate a monolayer from its 3D bulk crystal is surprisingly effective.”
Atoms within monolayer materials are considered “functionally” two-dimensional because the electrons can only be portable within the atomic sheet, like pieces on a chessboard. The researchers used a special type of microscopy to sense a signature in crl3, as in other ferromagnetic materials when a beam of polarized light is reflected off the material’s surface that indicates intrinsic ferromagnetism in an isolated monolayer.