Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Oregon Physicists Don't Flip Spin but Find Possible Electron Switch

29.05.2008
University of Oregon researchers trying to flip the spin of electrons with laser bursts lasting picoseconds (a trillionth of a second) instead found a way to manipulate and control the spin -- knowledge that may prove useful in a variety of new materials and technologies.

Physicists in recent years have been pursuing a variety of routes to tap electron spins for their potential use in quantum computers that can perform millions of computations at a time and store immense quantities of data or for use in emerging optic devices or spintronics.

"Spin is another dimension of electrons," said Hailin Wang, a professor of physics at the UO. "The electronics industry has depended on electron charges for more than 50 years. To make major improvements, we now need to go beyond charges to spin, which has been very important in physics but not used very often in applications."

Wang and his doctoral student Shannon O'Leary theorized that they could flip an electron's spin up to down, or vice versa, by using a nonlinear optical technique called transient differential transmission. They describe their "failure" to flip the spin and their unexpected discovery in Physical Review B, a journal devoted to condensed matter and materials physics.

The overall goal, Wang and O'Leary said, is to be able to force the spin to flip using light. Their studies involved the use of nonlinear optical processes of electron spin coherence in a modulation-doped CdTe quantum well -- semiconductor material formed from cadmium and tellurium, sandwiched in a crystalline compound between two other semiconductor barrier layers. A doped quantum well contains extra embedded electrons in a near two-dimensional state.

O'Leary initialized a spin in an experiment using a "gyro-like" arrangement with a short pulse of laser. At specific times, she hit the spin with another laser pulse with the absorption energy of an exciton (an electron-hole pair) or trion (a charged exciton). Hitting the spin with a third pulse allows them to study what impact the second pulse had on the spin.

"We know that in this particular system, excitons quickly convert into trions by binding to a free electron," O'Leary said. "One surprising aspect is that injecting trions directly does not manipulate the spin. So the manipulation effect has to do with the conversion of the excitons to trions."

The behaviors they discovered were unexpected but intriguing, Wang said. "We were not able to flip the spin, but what we found is something quite puzzling, quite unexpected, that was not supposed to happen. We now want to understand why the system works this way. This will require some more work. We wanted to get from point A to B, but we went to C."

The detour, however, "shows that we can manipulate the spin when we inject excitons at appropriate times in the precession cycle of the spin," O'Leary said. "The result gives scientists a new tool for manipulating spins, and it may prove to be a handy method because it simply requires shining a pulse of light of the appropriate energy at the right time."

The National Science Foundation and Army Research Office funded the research.

About the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon's flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of 62 of the leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. Membership in the AAU is by invitation only. The University of Oregon is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.

Sources: Hailin Wang, professor of physics, UO College of Arts and Sciences, 541-346-4758 or 4807; hailin@uoregon.edu; Shannon O'Leary, 541-346-4807; soleary@uoregon.edu

Links: Wang faculty page: http://physics.uoregon.edu/physics/faculty/wang.html; physics department: http://physics.uoregon.edu/physics/index.html; College of Arts and Sciences: http://cas.uoregon.edu/

Jim Barlow | newswise
Further information:
http://www.uoregon.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht SF State astronomer searches for signs of life on Wolf 1061 exoplanet
20.01.2017 | San Francisco State University

nachricht Molecule flash mob
19.01.2017 | Technische Universität Wien

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>