Albert Fert

Albert Fert (French: [fɛʁ]; born 7 March 1938) is a French physicist and one of the discoverers of giant magnetoresistance which brought about a breakthrough in gigabyte hard disks. Currently, he is an emeritus professor at Université Paris-Sud in Orsay and scientific director of a joint laboratory ('Unité mixte de recherche') between the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (National Scientific Research Centre) and Thales Group. He was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics together with Peter Grünberg.[1]

Albert Fert
Born7 March 1938 (age 81)
ResidenceParis, France
Alma materÉcole normale supérieure
University of Paris
Known forGiant magnetoresistive effect, spintronics, skyrmions
AwardsCNRS Gold medal (2003)
Wolf Prize in Physics (2006)
Japan Prize (2007)
Nobel Prize in Physics (2007)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversité Paris-Saclay, Unité Mixte de Physique CNRS/Thales
Doctoral advisorI. A. Campbell


Fert graduated in 1962 from the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. He received his Ph.D. (doctorat de troisième cycle) in 1963 and his Sc.D. (doctorat des sciences), both from the Orsay Faculty of Sciences of the University of Paris.

In 1988, Albert Fert at Orsay in France and Peter Gruenberg in Jülich in Germany, simultaneously and independently, discovered the giant magnetoresistance (GMR) of the magnetic multilayers.[2][3] This discovery is recognized as the birth of spintronics,[4][5] a research field which is often described as a new type of electronics exploiting not only the electric charge of the electrons but also their magnetism (their spin). Spintronics has already important applications. One knows that the introduction of GMR read heads in hard disks has led to a considerable increase of their capacity of information storage.[5] Other spintronic properties are exploited in the M-RAM[5][6] that are expected to impact soon the technology of the computers and phones. Albert Fert had many contributions to the development of spintronics and, after his 2007 Nobel Prize, he is exploring the emerging direction of the exploitation of topological properties in spintronics.[7] His most recent works are on the topologically protected magnetic solitons called skyrmions[8] and on the conversion between charge and spin current by topological insulators.[9]

Honors and awards


  1. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Physics 2007".
  2. ^ Baibich, M. N.; Broto, J. M.; Fert, A.; Van Dau, F. Nguyen; Petroff, F.; Etienne, P.; Creuzet, G.; Friederich, A.; Chazelas, J. (21 November 1988). "Giant Magnetoresistance of (001)Fe/(001)Cr Magnetic Superlattices". Physical Review Letters. 61 (21): 2472–2475. Bibcode:1988PhRvL..61.2472B. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.61.2472.
  3. ^ Binasch, G.; Grünberg, P.; Saurenbach, F.; Zinn, W. (1 March 1989). "Enhanced magnetoresistance in layered magnetic structures with antiferromagnetic interlayer exchange". Physical Review B. 39 (7): 4828–4830. Bibcode:1989PhRvB..39.4828B. doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.39.4828.
  4. ^ Handbook of spin transport and magnetism. Tsymbal, E. Y. (Evgeny Y.), Zutic, Igor. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press. 2012. ISBN 9781439803776. OCLC 756724063.CS1 maint: others (link)
  5. ^ a b c Chappert, Claude; Fert, Albert; Dau, Frédéric Nguyen Van. "The emergence of spin electronics in data storage". Nature Materials. 6 (11): 813–823. Bibcode:2007NatMa...6..813C. doi:10.1038/nmat2024. ISSN 1476-4660.
  6. ^ Åkerman, Johan (22 April 2005). "Toward a Universal Memory". Science. 308 (5721): 508–510. doi:10.1126/science.1110549. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 15845842.
  7. ^ Soumyanarayanan, Anjan; Reyren, Nicolas; Fert, Albert; Panagopoulos, Christos (23 November 2016). "Emergent phenomena induced by spin–orbit coupling at surfaces and interfaces". Nature. 539 (7630): 509–517. arXiv:1611.09521. doi:10.1038/nature19820. ISSN 1476-4687.
  8. ^ Fert, Albert; Reyren, Nicolas; Cros, Vincent. "Magnetic skyrmions: advances in physics and potential applications". Nature Reviews Materials. 2 (7). arXiv:1712.07236. Bibcode:2017NatRM...217031F. doi:10.1038/natrevmats.2017.31. ISSN 2058-8437.
  9. ^ Rojas-Sánchez, J.-C.; Oyarzún, S.; Fu, Y.; Marty, A.; Vergnaud, C.; Gambarelli, S.; Vila, L.; Jamet, M.; Ohtsubo, Y. (1 March 2016). "Spin to Charge Conversion at Room Temperature by Spin Pumping into a New Type of Topological Insulator: $\ensuremath{\alpha}$-Sn Films". Physical Review Letters. 116 (9): 096602. arXiv:1509.02973. Bibcode:2016PhRvL.116i6602R. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.116.096602.

External links

2007 in science

The year 2007 involved many significant scientific events and discoveries, some of which are listed below.

2007–09 university protests in France

This article is about the university strike movement in France during 2007 and 2009. Since Valérie Pécresse was appointed Minister for Higher Education and Research, the mood had been tense in the French university system. Several reform projects had led to protest movements, including that of 2009, the longest-lasting yet since 1968, still on-going after several months. It had put a heavy strain on France's political environment, even within the leading UMP party, and led to a reconsideration of the Bologna process within intellectual circles. A similar movement has simultaneously taken place in Spain.


In materials that exhibit antiferromagnetism, the magnetic moments of atoms or molecules, usually

related to the spins of electrons, align in a regular pattern with neighboring spins (on different sublattices) pointing in opposite directions. This is, like ferromagnetism and ferrimagnetism, a manifestation of ordered magnetism.

Generally, antiferromagnetic order may exist at sufficiently low temperatures, but vanishes at and above the Néel temperature – named after Louis Néel, who had first identified this type of magnetic ordering. Above the Néel temperature, the material is typically paramagnetic.

CNRS Gold medal

The CNRS Gold medal is the highest scientific research award in France. It is presented annually by the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and was first awarded in 1954. Moreover, Silver Medals are given to researchers for originality, quality, and importance, while Bronze Medals recognize initial fruitful results.

EPS Europhysics Prize

The EPS Europhysics Prize is awarded (currently every 2nd year) since 1975 by the Condensed Matter Division of the European Physical Society, in recognition of recent work (completed in the 5 years preceding the attribution of the award) by one or more individuals, for scientific excellence in the area of condensed matter physics. It is one of Europe’s most prestigious prizes in the field of condensed matter physics. Several laureates of the EPS Europhysics Prize also received a Nobel Prize in Physics or Chemistry (Geim, Novoselov, Fert, Grünberg, Kroto, Smalley, Ertl, Bednorz, Müller, Binnig, Rohrer, von Klitzing, Alferov).

Einstein's Sink

Einstein's Sink is an antique sink that has been in use by the physics faculty of Leiden University since 1920. Originally the sink stood in the large lecture room of the old Kamerlingh Onnes Laboratory. It was taken to the new building when the physicists moved to the Leiden Bioscience park in 1977. Here it still stands in the current large lecture room (The De Sitterzaal of the J.H. Oortgebouw), continuing the tradition of washing the hands of visiting famous scientists. A short list of 'sink users' consists out of Paul Ehrenfest, Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, Hendrik Antoon Lorentz and Albert Einstein. But also more recently nobel prize winners like Brian Schmidt and Albert Fert

In 2015 plans were announced for a new science campus which will replace the current one in 2025. After some inquiries it was clear that the faculty board had no plans of moving the sink once more to the upcoming physics department and therefore a petition was started to 'save the sink'. Because of this the sink appeared in local and national media several times. The petition got 197 autographs within one month and was later presented to the faculty board. The science faculty accepted the petition and stated on the 21st of April 2015 that the sink will be moved to a lecture room in the new building, where it can keep serving the physicists like it did years before.


Fert may refer to:

Albert Fert, a French physicist who enabled a breakthrough in gigabyte hard disk drives.

FERT, the motto of the former Italian Royal House of Savoy


The long name of the Cyrillic letter Ef

A very weak opening bid in the game of contract bridge (short for fertiliser), used in strong pass systems; see Glossary of contract bridge terms#fert

Gay-Lussac Humboldt Prize

The Gay-Lussac Humboldt Prize is German - French science prize. It was created in 1981 by French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing and German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt based on the recommendation of the German and French research ministries.

The prize is awarded to researchers that have made outstanding contributions in science, especially in cooperation between the two countries. Four to five German and French scientists from all research disciplines are honored with this award every year. The prize was originally named after Alexander von Humboldt and carries since 1997 the double name Gay-Lussac-Humboldt.

Giant magnetoresistance

Giant magnetoresistance (GMR) is a quantum mechanical magnetoresistance effect observed in multilayers composed of alternating ferromagnetic and non-magnetic conductive layers. The 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Albert Fert and Peter Grünberg for the discovery of GMR.

The effect is observed as a significant change in the electrical resistance depending on whether the magnetization of adjacent ferromagnetic layers are in a parallel or an antiparallel alignment. The overall resistance is relatively low for parallel alignment and relatively high for antiparallel alignment. The magnetization direction can be controlled, for example, by applying an external magnetic field. The effect is based on the dependence of electron scattering on the spin orientation.

The main application of GMR is magnetic field sensors, which are used to read data in hard disk drives, biosensors, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and other devices. GMR multilayer structures are also used in magnetoresistive random-access memory (MRAM) as cells that store one bit of information.

In literature, the term giant magnetoresistance is sometimes confused with colossal magnetoresistance of ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic semiconductors, which is not related to the multilayer structure.

James C. McGroddy Prize for New Materials

The James C. McGroddy Prize for New Materials is a prize that has been awarded annually by the American Physical Society since 1975, but was only given that name following its endowment by IBM in 1999. Prior to that it was known as the International Prize for New Materials. The recipients are chosen for "Outstanding achievement in the science and application of new materials". The prize is named after James C. McGroddy, himself a winner of APS's George E. Pake Prize in 1995, and comes with a cash award of $10,000.


Magnetoresistance is the tendency of a material (preferably ferromagnetic) to change the value of its electrical resistance in an externally-applied magnetic field. There are a variety of effects that can be called magnetoresistance: some occur in bulk non-magnetic metals and semiconductors, such as geometrical magnetoresistance, Shubnikov de Haas oscillations, or the common positive magnetoresistance in metals. Other effects occur in magnetic metals, such as negative magnetoresistance in ferromagnets or anisotropic magnetoresistance (AMR). Finally, in multicomponent or multilayer systems (e.g. magnetic tunnel junctions), giant magnetoresistance (GMR), tunnel magnetoresistance (TMR), colossal magnetoresistance (CMR), and extraordinary magnetoresistance (EMR) can be observed.

The first magnetoresistive effect was discovered by William Thomson, better known as Lord Kelvin, in 1856, but he was unable to lower the electrical resistance of anything by more than 5%. Nowadays, systems, e.g. semimetals or concentric ring EMR structures, are known where a magnetic field can change resistance by orders of magnitude. As the resistance may depend on magnetic field through various mechanisms, it is useful to separately consider situations where it depends on magnetic field directly, e.g. geometric magnetoresistance and multiband magnetoresistance, and those where it does so indirectly through magnetisation, e.g. AMR, TMR.

Member of the Academia Europaea

Membership of the Academia Europaea (MAE) is an award conferred by the Academia Europaea to individuals that have demonstrated “sustained academic excellence”.Membership is by invitation only by existing MAE only and judged during a peer review selection process. Members are entitled to use the post-nominal letters MAE.

Otley R.U.F.C.

Otley Rugby Union Football Club is an English rugby union club representing Otley in the City of Leeds, district of West Yorkshire. The club runs three senior teams – the first XV, the Saracens (2nd XV) and the Viscounts (3rd XV), as well as a full range of junior teams. The first XV play in National League 2 North.

Peter Grünberg

Peter Andreas Grünberg (18 May 1939 – 7 April 2018) was a German physicist, and Nobel Prize in Physics laureate for his discovery with Albert Fert of giant magnetoresistance which brought about a breakthrough in gigabyte hard disk drives.

Program ConCiencia

The Program ConCiencia is an initiative of science communication created in 2006 by the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela and the Consorcio de Santiago. It is based on visits to Santiago de Compostela of Nobel Laureates or analogous laureates in mathematics (Fields Medal, Abel Prize) and computer science (Turing Award). Since 2008 this program organizes also the Fonseca Prize of science communication, which so far has been awarded to Stephen W. Hawking, James Lovelock, Sir David Attenborough and Sir Roger Penrose.

Spin engineering

Spin engineering describes the control and manipulation of quantum spin systems to develop devices and materials. This includes the use of the spin degrees of freedom as a probe for spin based phenomena.

Because of the basic importance of quantum spin for physical and chemical processes, spin engineering is relevant for a wide range of scientific and technological applications. Current examples range from Bose–Einstein condensation to spin-based data storage and reading in state-of-the-art hard disk drives, as well as from powerful analytical tools like nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy to the development of magnetic molecules as qubits and magnetic nanoparticles. In addition, spin engineering exploits the functionality of spin to design materials with novel properties as well as to provide a better understanding and advanced applications of conventional material systems. Many chemical reactions are devised to create bulk materials or single molecules with well defined spin properties, such as a single-molecule magnet.

The aim of this article is to provide an outline of fields of research and development where the focus is on the properties and applications of quantum spin.


Spinmechatronics is neologism referring to an emerging field of research concerned with the exploitation of spin-dependent phenomena and established spintronic methodologies and technologies in conjunction with electro-mechanical, magno-mechanical, acousto-mechanical and opto-mechanical systems. Most especially, spinmechatronics (or spin mechatronics) concerns the integration of micro- and nano- mechatronic systems with spin physics and spintronics.

University of Paris-Sud

Paris-Sud University (French: Université Paris-Sud), also known as University of Paris — XI, is a French university distributed among several campuses in the southern suburbs of Paris including Orsay, Cachan, Châtenay-Malabry, Sceaux and Kremlin-Bicêtre campuses. The main campus is located in Orsay (48.699890°N 2.173309°E / 48.699890; 2.173309). This university is a member of the UniverSud Paris and a constituent university of the federal University of Paris-Saclay.

Paris-Sud is one of the largest and most renowned French universities, particularly in science and mathematics.

Four Fields Medalists and two Nobel Prize Winners have been affiliated to the university.The current president of the University is Sylvie Retailleau.

Wolf Prize in Physics

The Wolf Prize in Physics is awarded once a year by the Wolf Foundation in Israel. It is one of the six Wolf Prizes established by the Foundation and awarded since 1978; the others are in Agriculture, Chemistry, Mathematics, Medicine and Arts.

The Wolf Prizes in physics and chemistry are often considered the most prestigious awards in those fields after the Nobel Prize. The prize in physics has gained a reputation for identifying future winners of the Nobel Prize – from the 26 prizes awarded between 1978 and 2010, fourteen winners have gone on to win the Nobel Prize, five of those in the following year.

Laureates of the Wolf Prize in Physics
2007 Nobel Prize laureates
Physiology or Medicine
Economic Sciences

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