Research Highlight

Computer code detects ultrathin magnetic materials

doi:10.1038/nindia.2020.89 Published online 27 May 2020

Researchers from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore have developed an open-source computer code that can screen and identify two-dimensional ferromagnetic materials from a large database of materials1. This code shuns the need for the complex manual calculations that are usually needed to detect such magnetic materials.

The code would be useful for hunting down specific ferromagnetic materials that, according to recent studies, might be used to design molecular quantum devices, sensors and ultrathin data-storage devices.

At low temperatures, two-dimensional ferromagnetic materials exhibit magnetic properties. These materials retain such properties even in the absence of a magnetic field. However, their magnetic properties get disturbed when the temperature increases. The temperature at which such materials lose their magnetic properties is known as the Curie point.

The Curie point, a critical property for such magnetic materials for practical applications, is difficult to calculate.

To address this, the scientists designed the fully automated computer code. Using the code, they then scanned 786 materials from a large database. The researchers, led by Santanu Mahapatra, discovered 26 ferromagnetic materials with a Curie point beyond 400 degrees Kelvin.

Additionally, they identified some important magnetic materials that have so far remained undetected. These materials could be ideal candidates for use in devices that could withstand high temperatures. 

The team also developed a machine-learning model to predict the Curie temperature of various materials. If trained to screen a large database of ferromagnetic materials, this model would help identify such materials, which could be used to fabricate devices.


1. Kabiraj, A. et al. High-throughput discovery of high Curie point two-dimensional ferromagnetic materials.  npj Comput. Mater. 6:35 (2020) doi: 10.1038/s41524-020-0300-2