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 Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems
08.12.2016 | Nagoya Institute of Technology

nachricht Will Earth still exist 5 billion years from now?
08.12.2016 | KU Leuven

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: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

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,...

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

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>