It's the coupling that creates resistance: Spin electronics in layered magnetic structures



Fast-paced technological advancement is squeezing the data on computer hard disks ever closer together. For some ten years now, continuously shrinking and increasingly sensitive read/write heads are making use of the giant magnetoresistance (GMR) effect discovered in 1988. This term was coined for the effect that electric resistance of a magnetic layer system changes dramatically when the magnetization of the individual layers is reversed from antiparallel to parallel orientation. Very small external magnetic fields suffice to change the orientation and thus give GMR read/write heads their high sensitivity.