Project outline

Start date: July 1st 2013

Project duration: 36 months



In the field of spintronics the highest level scientific discoveries (such as the giant magneto- resistance GMR awarded the Nobel Prize in 2007) have repeatedly led to important industrial applications such as hard disk read heads and automotive sensors. The economic impact of spintronics for the ICT industry is underlined by the fact that every hard disk shipped today uses a spintronic head to read the data. Spintronics is thus a model for the strong impact of fundamental research on industry and economy. Although some spintronics applications are now considered to be well-established, novel and innovative concepts are still emerging, allowing the development of radically new device applications. For instance, several particularly promising device concepts are based on the motion of a magnetic domain wall (DW) in a magnetic nanowire. These could find important industrial applications ranging from high-density low-power data storage to highly localised field and magnetic moment detection. As a basis for all future device applications, industry requires a fundamental understanding of the device physics and reliable measurement capabilities. Besides, coupling heat- driven transport with spintronics allows new device design with promising applications such as innovative spin sources, thermally driven magnetisation reversal by thermal spin transfer torque, magnetic heat valves, or magnetically switchable cooling. However, many of these theoretical concepts are yet to be tested experimentally, and there is therefore a scientific need to test and validate theoretical predictions to enable future applications. One key problem for the rapidly emerging field of spin-caloritronics is the lack of established methods for reliable measurements of spin-caloritronic material parameters.

Scientific and technical objectives

SpinCal will enable a fundamental understanding of new effects emerging in the field of spintronics and spin-caloritronics in magnetic nanosystems. The understanding, control, and proper quantification of these effects will underpin R&D and future applications in metrology, ICT, and other fields. It will also take the first steps towards future standardisation of spintronic and spin-caloritronic measurements, materials, and devices by the development of a new measurement infrastructure and a best practice guide for spin-caloritronic material measurements.


The project has two key scientific and technical objectives:

  1. To develop, realise and investigate magnetic nanodevices allowing the detection, manipulation, and control of individual magnetic domain walls (DW) in advanced magnetic materials. The first objective will focus on fundamental investigations of domain wall devices in advanced magnetic materials with perpendicular magnetic anisotropy, will develop metrology for DW devices and will explore the possibilities of future DW based metrology applications. 
  2. To develop, realise, and investigate new functional magnetic nanodevices exploiting the interplay of spin-polarised transport and thermal gradients. The second objective will explore and develop measurement procedures and tools for the quantitative determination of spin-caloritronic material parameters to underpin the development of future spin-caloritronic nanodevices. Based on this, new functional magnetic nanodevices will be investigated such as spin dependent thermo-electric generators and magnetic heat valves exploiting the interplay of spin-polarized transport and thermal gradients.


The interaction between basic research and enabling metrology will allow the objectives to be addressed efficiently and will maximise the impact for the stakeholder community in the field of spintronics and spin-caloritronics (the scientific community involved in spin-caloritronics, those engaged in domain wall work including companies, along with companies involved in sensing applications).


Project meetings

Researchers of the JRP Consortium meet every 6 months to present their latest achievements and to plan the future activities.

Project meetings list:

  1. Kick-off meeting: 1st July 2013, NPL Teddington (UK)
  2. Month 6 meeting: 17 January 2014, PTB Berlin (Germany)
  3. Month 12 meeting: 9 May 2014, PTB Berlin (Germany)
  4. Month 18 meeting: 20 January 2015, FZU Prague (Czech Republic)
  5. Month 24 meeting: 29 June 2015, INL Braga (Portugal)
  6. Month 30 meeting: 21-22 January 2016, Cambridge University, Cambridge (UK)
  7. Month 36 meeting: 21-22 June 2016, PTB Berlin (Germany)

Read the project publishable summary