The goal of the project was to discover an antiferromagnetic alloy that does not contain the rare metal Iridium. Iridium is becoming more and more widely used in numerous spin electronic storage devices, including read heads in hard disk drives.
The EU team, led by Prof Atsufumi Hirohata from the Department of Electronics at The University of York (UK), worked initially on the preparation of polycrystalline thin films of Heusler Alloys, with the material design led by theoretical calculations.
The Japanese team, led by Prof Koki Takanashi, Director of the Institute for Materials Research at Tohoku University, meanwhile worked on the preparation of epitaxial thin films, measurements of fundamental properties and structural/magnetic characterisation by neutron and synchrotron x-ray beams.
Fabrication and characterization of device structures was then undertaken jointly by both teams.