Dr. Amos Sharoni is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Physics and Head of the Nano-devices and Materials Lab at the Bar-Ilan Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA).
He came to Bar-Ilan University from the University of California, San Diego, as part of the 2009 cohort of returning scientists, a special program within Bar-Ilan University to recruit young Israeli scientists to return to work in Israel.
Sharoni and his team study the physical properties of devices and materials on the nanoscale. They aim to understand how the properties of matter change when the characteristic length scale and dimensionality of a system is drastically altered.
In Sharoni’s lab, research focuses on phase transitions at the nanoscale and on spintronics, an area of study that involves the manipulation of both the intrinsic spin of the electron and its electronic degrees of freedom in solid-state devices.
In Sharoni’s lab, the group investigates how the properties of phase transition in condensed matter change with the dimensionality and size of the system under investigation. When the size of the system is shorter (in one or more dimensions) than an important length scale (e.g. the mean free path), the physical properties associated with this length scale are also expected to change.
In addition, at short length scales, when one material is in close proximity to another material that has different properties, the first material’s properties are affected.
Sharoni and his group have identified avalanche-like transitions of the phase transition in vanadium oxide when measuring nano-size devices of this material. A statistical power-law dependence of the avalanche magnitude points toward the criticality of the transition.
All electronic gadgets rely on the electron, the basic unit of charge, to perform computations and provide power for operations.
In addition to the charge, the electron carries another property called “spin,” a small magnetic field that can be “spun” up or down. Sharoni and his group work to better understand how to measure and manipulate spin properties.
Their research may yield promising technical applications, as one major factor that slows down today’s computers is that their memory and processor computing elements are separate. Spintronics enables the combination of computation and memory into one device, and can theoretically enable computers to operate with less power and at a faster speed.
In addition, spintronics research has facilitated the observation of many new basic physical phenomena. By constructing nano-size devices of hybrid magnetic/non-magnetic origin, Sharoni and his team tap into the spin properties before these effects average out (on a longer length scale).
They have recently measured the effect of copper channel thickness on spin diffusion length and on spin injection efficiency. By modeling the spin injection to a diffusion model, they found an enhanced spin scattering from the ferromagnetic/non-magnetic interface.
Sharoni and his group are moving forward with a number of interdisciplinary collaborations. They have begun to work with Dr. Orit Shefi, of the School of Engineering’s Bio-engineering department, on a project concerning the effects of nano-scale surface modifications on the growth of neurons.
They are also collaborating with Dr. Yaakov Tischler, of the Department of Chemistry, on research related to the interactions between optically active organic molecules and superconductors.
Sharoni and his team are looking forward to the opening of BINA’s new clean room, fabrication and characterization facility, which will give their research a boost by providing a high level of equipment at a convenient and central location.