|The number of 2D materials has exploded since the discovery of graphene.
However, this menagerie of single-atom-thick semiconductors, insulators
and superconductors has been missing a member: Magnets. In fact,
physicists weren't even sure that 2D magnets were possible, until now.
Researchers from MIT the University of Washington and report the first
truly 2D magnet, made of a compound called chromium triiodide. The
discovery could eventually lead to new data-storage devices and designs
for quantum computers. For now, the 2D magnets will enable physicists to
perform previously impossible experiments and test fundamental theories
The team found that not only was a single atomic layer of chromium
triiodide magnetic, but also that this property emerged at what is
considered a relatively warm temperature: about -228 °C. They also
discovered that a two-layered sheet of this material is not magnetic,
but when a third is added the substance becomes a ferromagnet again. The
material remains magnetic if a fourth layer is added, but gains other
properties the researchers say they're still investigating.
Eventually physicists would like to find a 2D magnet that works at room
temperature and that doesn't have to be protected from oxygen, so that
it might eventually be used in consumer electronics.