This week scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have joined colleagues around the world in congratulating Albert Fert of France and Peter Grünberg of Germany for winning this year's Nobel Prize in Physics. The pair won for their independent discovery of giant magnetoresistance (GMR), the phenomenon used for reading data on today's high-capacity magnetic disk drives.
NIST has numerous connections to the Nobel Prize winning work and to the study of GMR in general. The Nobel Prize background material cites work done at the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) by research groups that included Charles Majkrzak, Julie Borchers and Ross Erwin, all of whom are now part of NIST staff. Then as now, the neutron work takes advantage of the ability of neutrons to determine the detailed microscopic properties of magnetic materials. These scientists and other NIST researchers (including Boulder's Pavel Kabos) collaborated directly with Grünberg on more than seven joint publications.
In addition, many other NIST researchers have advanced the GMR field. Follow this link to read about some of them.