Interface between insulators enables information transport by spin
Modern computer technology is based on the transport of electric charge in semiconductors. But this technology’s potential will be reaching its limits in the near future, since the components deployed cannot be miniaturized further. But, there is another option: using an electron’s spin, instead of its charge, to transmit information. A team of scientists from Munich and Kyoto is now demonstrating how this works.
Computers and mobile devices continue providing ever more functionality. The basis for this surge in performance has been progressively extended miniaturization. However, there are fundamental limits to the degree of miniaturization possible, meaning that arbitrary size reductions will not be possible with semiconductor technology.
Researchers around the world are thus working on alternatives. A particularly promising approach involves so-called spin electronics. This takes advantage of the fact that electrons possess, in addition to charge, angular momentum – the spin. The experts hope to use this property to increase the information density and at the same time the functionality of future electronics.
Together with colleagues at the Kyoto University in Japan scientists at the Walther-Meißner-Institute (WMI) and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in Garching have now demonstrated the transport of spin information at room temperature in a remarkable material system.
A unique boundary layer
In their experiment, they demonstrated the production, transport and detection of electronic spins in the boundary layer between the materials lanthanum-aluminate (LaAlO2) and strontium-titanate (SrTiO3). What makes this material system unique is that an extremely thin, electrically conducting layer forms at the interface between the two non-conducting materials: a so-called two-dimensional electron gas.
The German-Japanese team has now shown that this two-dimensional electron gas transports not only charge, but also spin. “To achieve this we first had to surmount several technical hurdles,” says Dr Hans Hübl, scientist at the Chair for Technical Physics at TUM and Deputy Director of the Walther-Meißner-Institute. “The two key questions were: How can spin be transferred to the two-dimensional electron gas and how can the transport be proven?”
Information transport via spin
The scientists solved the problem of spin transfer using a magnetic contact. Microwave radiation forces its electrons into a precession movement, analogous to the wobbling motion of a top. Just as in a top, this motion does not last forever, but rather, weakens in time – in this case by imparting its spin onto the two-dimensional electron gas.
The electron gas then transports the spin information to a non-magnetic contact located one micrometer next to the contact. The non-magnetic contact detects the spin transport by absorbing the spin, building up an electric potential in the process. Measuring this potential allowed the researchers to systematically investigate the transport of spin and demonstrate the feasibility of bridging distances up to one hundred times larger than the distance of today’s transistors.
Based on these results, the team of scientists is now researching to what extent spin electronic components with novel functionality can be implemented using this system of materials.
The research was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) in the context of the Cluster of Excellence “Nanosystems Initiative Munich” (NIM).
Strong evidence for d-electron spin transport at room temperature at a LaAlO3/SrTiO3 interface. R. Ohshima, Y. Ando, K. Matsuzaki, T. Susaki, M. Weiler, S. Klingler, H. Huebl, E. Shikoh, T. Shinjo, S.T.B Goennenwein and M. Shiraishi. Nature Materials, Advanced Online Publication 13. Februar 2017. DOI:10.1038/nmat4857
Dr. Hans Gregor Hübl
Magnetism, Spintronics and Nano Electromechanics
Deputy Director of Walther-Meißner-Institute, Bavarian Academy of Science,
Chair for Technical Physics (E23) at Technical University of Munich
Walther-Meißner-Straße 8, 85748 Garching, Germany
Tel.: +49 89 289 14204 – E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org – Web: http://www.wmi.badw.de
Dr. Isabel Leicht | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots
23.01.2018 | Universität Basel
Two dimensional circuit with magnetic quasi-particles
22.01.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.
Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences
23.01.2018 | Life Sciences
23.01.2018 | Materials Sciences