A multidisciplinary team of UC researchers is the first to find an innovative and novel way to control an electron's spin orientation using purely electrical means.
Their findings were recently published in the prestigious, high-profile journal "Nature Nanotechnology," in an article titled "All-Electric Quantum Point Contact Spin-Polarizer."
For decades, the transistors inside radios, televisions and other everyday electronic items have transmitted data by controlling the movement of the charge of an electron. Scientists have since discovered that transistors that function by controlling an electron's spin instead of its charge would use less energy, generate less heat and operate at higher speeds. This has resulted in a new field of research — spin electronics or spintronics — that offers one of the most promising paradigms for the development of novel devices for use in the post-CMOS (complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor) era.
Until now, scientists have attempted to develop spin transistors by incorporating local ferromagnets into device architectures. This results in significant design complexities, especially in view of the rising demand for smaller and smaller transistors," says Philippe Debray, research professor in the Department of Physics in the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences. "A far better and practical way to manipulate the orientation of an electron's spin would be by using purely electrical means, like the switching on and off of an electrical voltage. This will be spintronics without ferromagnetism or all-electric spintronics, the holy grail of semiconductor spintronics."
The team of researchers led by Debray and Professor Marc Cahay (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering) is the first to find an innovative and novel way to control an electron's spin orientation using purely electrical means.
"We used a quantum point contact — a short quantum wire — made from the semiconductor indium arsenide to generate strongly spin-polarized current by tuning the potential confinement of the wire by bias voltages of the gates that create it," Debray says.
In the diagram at left, (Left) Scanning electron micrograph of the quantum point contact schematically illustrates unpolarized (spin up and spin down) electrons incident on the left coming out of the device spin-polarized with spin up. (Right) Spatial distribution of spin polarization in the quantum point contact constriction.
Debray continues, "The key condition for the success of the experiment is that the potential confinement of the wire must be asymmetric — the transverse opposite edges of the quantum point contact must be asymmetrical. This was achieved by tuning the gate voltages. This asymmetry allows the electrons — thanks to relativistic effects — to interact with their surroundings via spin-orbit coupling and be polarized. The coupling triggers the spin polarization and the Coulomb electron–electron interaction enhances it."
Controlling spin electronically has major implications for the future development of spin devices. The work by Debray's team is the first step. The next experimental step would be to achieve the same results at a higher temperature using a different material such as gallium arsenide.
This work was supported by National Science Foundation awards ECCS 0725404 and DMR 0710581.
Wendy Beckman | EurekAlert!
Easier Diagnosis of Esophageal Cancer
06.03.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance
27.02.2017 | DOE/Sandia National Laboratories
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences