Albert Fert

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Albert Fert
Born (1938-03-07) 7 March 1938 (age 82)
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, Michigan State University[1]
Doctoral advisorI. A. Campbell

Albert Fert (French: [albɛʁ fɛʁ]; born 7 March 1938, Carcassonne, France) 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 Paris-Saclay University in Orsay, 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, and adjunct professor at Michigan State University. He was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics together with Peter Grünberg.[2]


Fert graduated in 1962 from the École Normale Supérieure in Paris.[3] There he followed the courses of great physicists like Alfred Kastler or Jacques Friedel, and was passionate about photography and cinema (he was a big admirer of the work of Ingmar Bergman).[4]

After graduating from the École Normale Supérieure, he attended the University of Grenoble and in 1963 received his Ph.D. (doctorat de troisième cycle) from the University of Paris with a thesis prepared in the fundamental electronic Orsay Faculty of Sciences and in the physical spectrometry laboratory of the University of Grenoble Faculty of Sciences.

After his return from military service in 1965, he was assistant professor at the Orsay Faculty of Sciences of the University of Paris XI (Université Paris-Sud),[5] and prepared under the direction of Ian Campbell within the Laboratory of Solid Physics of the faculty for a doctorate Sc.D. (doctorat des sciences) in Physical Sciences devoted to the properties of electrical transport in nickel and iron, which he completed in 1970,[3] and was made a professor there in 1976.

He worked as research director for the university's condensed-matter physics laboratory (1970–1995) prior to heading to Unité Mixte de Physique, a laboratory jointly run by the Université Paris-Sud and the technology company Thales.

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.[6][7] This discovery is recognized as the birth of spintronics,[8][9] 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.[9] Other spintronic properties are exploited in the M-RAM[9][10] that are expected to impact soon the technology of the computers and phones. In 2007, together with Prof. Grünberg, the received the renown Japan Award (300.000 Euro) for their discovery of GMR. The same year, they received the Nobel prize in Physics.

In October 2006, Professor Fert received the honorary doctorate from the Department of Physics of the University of Kaiserslautern.[3]

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.[11] His most recent works are on the topologically protected magnetic solitons called skyrmions[12] and on the conversion between charge and spin current by topological insulators.[13]

Honors and awards[edit]


  2. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Physics 2007".
  3. ^ a b c d "Prof. Albert Fert | GSE Mainz". Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  4. ^ "Albert Fert, un Nobel amoureux de Bergman". LEFIGARO (in French). Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  5. ^ "The Nobel Prize in Physics 2007 – Albert Fert – Facts". Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  6. ^ 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" (PDF). Physical Review Letters. 61 (21): 2472–2475. Bibcode:1988PhRvL..61.2472B. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.61.2472. PMID 10039127.
  7. ^ 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. PMID 9948867.
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ a b c Chappert, Claude; Fert, Albert; Dau, Frédéric Nguyen Van (2007). "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. PMID 17972936.
  10. ^ Åkerman, Johan (22 April 2005). "Toward a Universal Memory". Science. 308 (5721): 508–510. doi:10.1126/science.1110549. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 15845842. S2CID 60577959.
  11. ^ 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. Bibcode:2016arXiv161109521S. doi:10.1038/nature19820. ISSN 1476-4687. PMID 27882972. S2CID 4452338.
  12. ^ Fert, Albert; Reyren, Nicolas; Cros, Vincent (2017). "Magnetic skyrmions: advances in physics and potential applications". Nature Reviews Materials. 2 (7): 17031. arXiv:1712.07236. Bibcode:2017NatRM...217031F. doi:10.1038/natrevmats.2017.31. ISSN 2058-8437.
  13. ^ 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. PMID 26991190.

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