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The activity at IMM Agrate is mainly focused on the synthesis and advanced characterization of materials displaying diverse functionalities. As concerning the growth, our work is focused on the use of atomic layer deposition (ALD) and chemical vapor deposition (CVD) to synthesize Fe-based oxide thin films. The class of Fe-oxides has recently triggered huge interest as due to the potential use in a large variety of applications [1]. Magnetite (Fe3O4) is a good example: being bio-compatible it is used in cancer diagnostic/therapy when in the form of nanoparticles [2]; it is naturally present in fish’s brain to act as magnetoreceptor for navigating; and when in the thin film form, it is attractive for spintronic applications due to the predicted full spin polarization at the Fermi level and the very high Curie temperature (860 K) [3]. Gas sensitivity at room temperature has been demonstrated for nanostructured Fe3O4 [4]. Ternary R-Fe-O (R=rare earth) compounds have been proposed as an interesting new class of multiferroics [5,6]. The first functioning Fe3O4-based MTJ and the growth of Er-Fe-O compounds synthesized with chemical approaches have been recently reported by our group [7,8,9]. The primary objective of this activity is to validate potential multifunctional properties of the developed materials in terms of magnetotransport, gas sensing, and multiferroicity, also in collaboration with other IMM Units.

Researchers at IMM Agrate Brianza have a long-standing experience in making use of radioactive ion implantation at the large-scale facility of ISOLDE at CERN to perform on line Mössbauer experiments. The method is unique in providing atomic-scale probes to investigate the chemical-structural-magnetic properties of materials down to the atomic-scale and in a regime of extreme dilution, as demonstrated by the recent important contribution given to the understanding of the magnetism in dilute magnetic semiconductors/oxides [10]. The method is currently extended to the study of new multifunctional materials, in the framework of the active proposals within the International Mössbauer Collaboration at ISOLDE/CERN [10].


PROJECTS

SPAM3 Spin Polarized Advanced Materials for Magnetic Memories” (01/02/09 - 31/01/12)

FIRB Project RBAP115AYN “Oxides at the nanoscale: multifunctionality and applications” (22/02/2012 - 22/02/2016 )

EXPERIMENTS AT CERN