The number of 2D materials has exploded since the discovery of graphene in 2004. However, this menagerie of single-atom-thick semiconductors, insulators and superconductors has been missing a member—magnets. In fact, physicists weren’t even sure that 2D magnets were possible, until now.
Researchers report the first truly 2D magnet, made of a compound called chromium triiodide, in a paper published on June 7 in Nature. The discovery could eventually lead to new data-storage devices and designs for quantum computers. For now, the 2D magnets will enable physicists to perform previously impossible experiments and test fundamental theories of magnetism