December 6, 2010
Fifth-year physics Ph.D. student Eric Evarts earned Best Student Presentation Award honors at the 55th Annual Conference on Magnetism and Magnetic Materials (MMM) held recently in Atlanta. Heralded as one of the largest conferences for research in data storage and magnetics, MMM annually provides an opportunity for participants from across the globe to meet with colleagues and collaborators to discuss new and controversial developments in all areas of magnetism research.
The conference's Best Student Presentation Award recognizes and encourages excellence in graduate studies in the field of magnetism. Evarts took the honors for his talk, "Spin Torque Switching of 26 nm Diameter Magnetic Tunnel Junction Using a Conductive Atomic Force Microscope." The work, performed with Physics Professor Sara Majetich, ABB Professor of Engineering and DSSC Director Jimmy Zhu, ECE Professor and DSSC Associate Director Jim Bain and Assistant ECE Professor David Ricketts, explores measurements on the smallest reported magnetic tunnel junction nanopillars to date using the technique Evarts has developed for his thesis. He's found that something unexpected causes these small pillars to get very hot during the measurement, which causes damage to the magnetic layers in the pillars. Based on temperature estimations from his measurements, the pillars may reach 600 C under conditions that in larger pillars would only lead to temperatures around 60 C. His work has far-reaching implications for bit patterned media and other future data recording technologies.
Evarts shared the top spot with Antoine Dussaux from The University of Paris-Sud 11. Both students received a cash award.
For more on Evarts' work, visit the Majetich Research Group's website at http://nano.phys.cmu.edu/.