Nano Engineering and Storage Technologies

The Nano Engineering and Storage Technology (NEST) research group (formerly the Electronic and Information Storage Systems) has research interests in nano fabrication for data storage and advanced sensors applications and the investigation of data storage systems in general. We are housed in an integrated suite of staff offices, general-purpose laboratory space and class 100/1000 cleanrooms, and are a founder member of the Manchester Centre for Mesoscience and Nanotechnology, where the ground-breaking Nobel Prize winning work on Graphene by Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov was undertaken. The centre is based in the group’s laboratories, and offers a wide range of facilities for the fabrication, visualisation and characterisation of structures and devices containing individual elements from a few microns down to 10 nm in size. As well as the nanoscale fabrication facilities available through CMN, we have facilities for characterising magnetic media including a purpose-built alternating gradient field magnetometer, a purpose-built magneto optical kerr effect (MOKE) magnetometer, and an ADE Technologies vector vibrating sample magnetometer.

Spotlight: Skyrmion bubbles go gyrotropic

Researchers image how magnetic skyrmions move for the first time – a result that bodes well for next-generation high-density data-storage technologies and nanodigital electronic devices.

Illustration of the topology of skyrmionic spin structures with a disk-shaped domain space
The topology of skyrmionic spin structures with a disk-shaped domain space. (a) A sphere with its identity map vector field into which all skyrmions can be continuously deformed. The colour hue represents the azimuthal angle and the black and white colour represents the polar angle of the spherical coordinates. (b) A magnetic bubble, which covers the sphere. All spins at the boundary of the domain space point in the same direction, confining the inner domain & the domain wall. (c) A chiral skyrmion, which has a different radial distribution than the bubble but is topologically similar. (d) A hedgehog skyrmion is also topologically equivalent. The hedgehog skyrmion can be continuously deformed to the chiral skyrmion by rotating all spins by 90 deg around an axis normal to the plane.

New Manchester academic Christoforos Moutafis explains:

Researchers in Switzerland, Germany, and The Netherlands have succeeded in imaging single skyrmion bubbles for the first time in an experiment using a technique called soft X-ray holography. The way the tiny structures move implies that they behave like particles that have mass – findings that might be important for understanding topologically related structures in other systems such as Bose-Einstein condensates, antiferromagnetic superconductors and multiferroics. Magnetic skyrmions have recently created a flurry of interest in the spintronics and nanotechnology world and might be used to make future high-density data-storage technologies and nanodigital electronic devices with improved data transfer speeds and processing power.

The present work has been published in Nature Physics and has been available online since February 2015. DOI: 10.1038/NPHYS3234

Contact details

General Enquiries

For general enquiries please contact members of the group directly.

Postal address

The NEST Research Group,
School of Computer Science,
The University of Manchester,
Oxford Road,
M13 9PL, UK

Travel Instructions

The NEST Group is based in ground floor of the IT building, building 40 on the campus map, with access via the Kilburn building to the 4th floor of the IT building. The University of Manchester website has detailed travel instructions. When travelling on Oxford Road from the city centre you are heading South, and the Kilburn and IT buildings will be on your left.

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