In short, it seemed that it might be feasible to use a Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM), of the kind found in labs around the world, to study the magnetic properties of materials in minute detail. At the time, these studies were carried out in synchrotrons, which are large, expensive and rather rare.
To see if their theory would work in practice, the Austrian scientists joined forces with a multidisciplinary team from the Czech Republic, Germany and Italy to work on the CHIRALTEM (Chiral Dichroism in the Transmission Electron Microscope) project. At the time, they were the only team in the world investigating this idea.
The researchers proved that TEMs can indeed reveal information on the magnetic properties of materials. Furthermore, the level of detail surpasses that of other techniques such as x-ray magnetic circular dichroism (XMCD). The discovery could prove useful for many applications, including quantum computers, which store data using the spin of electrons.READ MORE