Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

University of Cincinnati researchers create all-electric spintronics

28.10.2009
Multidisciplinary team of UC researchers first to find an innovative and novel way to control an electron’s spin orientation using purely electrical means

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!
Further information:
http://www.uc.edu

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht Lego-like wall produces acoustic holograms
17.10.2016 | Duke University

nachricht New evidence on terrestrial and oceanic responses to climate change over last millennium
11.10.2016 | University of Granada

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>