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Multiferroics power Advanced Laureate Award for Tyndall’s Dr Keeney

Posted on: 12 Dec 2023

Multiferroics power Advanced Laureate Award for Tyndall’s Dr Keeney

Dr Lynette Keeney has received nearly €1m in the prestigious Irish Research Council (IRC) Advanced Laureate Awards, for her deep-tech project entitled ‘designing confined multiferroic topologies to explore relationships between magnetic and polar textures’.

This project is critically important for the semiconductor industry due to increased demands for remote learning, working and entertainment, which has led to a phenomenal increase in worldwide data creation.

Ireland has a longstanding thriving semiconductor sector that directly employs 20,000 people and the sector is estimated to have generated revenue of €15.5bn this year (2023). Dr Keeney’s project further reinforces both Tyndall and Ireland, as a key actor in European semiconductor research and innovation. 

Congratulating Dr Lynette Keeney on her award, Professor William Scanlan, CEO, Tyndall, said:

I wish to extend my warmest congratulations to Dr Lynette Keeney, on receipt of the prestigious Irish Research Council Advanced Laureate Award. These awards recognise researchers who are pursuing groundbreaking deep-tech research, and we are immensely proud of Dr Keeney’s important work in the area of multiferroic topologies, exploring relationships between magnetic and polar textures. Dr Keeney’s award is testament to Tyndall’s contribution to the global semiconductor industry.”

Earlier this year, Tyndall called for action to be taken to allow Ireland to benefit from the opportunities presented by the new EU Chips Act. The EU Chips Act comprises a comprehensive set of measures worth €43bn to ensure the European semiconductor ecosystem stays relevant and to safeguard the EU’s strategic autonomy in the global supply chain of semiconductors. Tyndall’s Position Paper on the EU Chips Act is available to download here

Dr Keeney’s project is focusing on new material understanding, to produce energy efficient data storage and devices to meet increased data creation. Polar vortices are rotating topologies of electrical polarisation that are related to the spin whirlpools of magnetism we know as skyrmions. The recent breakthrough discoveries of such emergent topological structures have been heralded as unlocking a new era in ferroelectrics, with the potential for revolutionary nano-electronics that can overcome the constraints of classical data storage. The internal characteristic length scales of polar topological structures are much smaller (~4 to 10 nm) than ferromagnets (~10 to 100 nm), making them ideally suited to ultra-high density, energy efficient data storage devices.

Multiferroics are unique materials capable of intertwining ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties, providing novel ways to manipulate data and store information. This project aims to explain the origins of newly discovered topological structures within a rare multiferroic matrix. Novel and design concepts to predict and create conditions to engineer tantalising multiferroic topological states will be unveiled. The proposed combination of new material understanding and new growth optimisation, to produce ultra-compact data storage and new low power device concepts, can facilitate a paradigm shift in data storage technologies, including implementation in energy-efficient neuromorphic (brain inspired) and quantum computing.