Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers advance toward hybrid spintronic computer chips

14.04.2011
Researchers here have created the first electronic circuit to merge traditional inorganic semiconductors with organic “spintronics” – devices that utilize the spin of electrons to read, write and manipulate data.

Ezekiel Johnston-Halperin, assistant professor of physics, and his team combined an inorganic semiconductor with a unique plastic material that is under development in colleague Arthur J. Epstein’s lab at Ohio State University.

Last year, Epstein, Distinguished University Professor of physics and chemistry and director of the Institute for Magnetic and Electronic Polymers at Ohio State, demonstrated the first successful data storage and retrieval on a plastic spintronic device.

Ezekiel Johnston-Halperin

Now Johnston-Halperin, Epstein, and their colleagues have incorporated the plastic device into a traditional circuit based on gallium arsenide. Two of their now-former doctoral students, Lei Fang and Deniz Bozdag, had to devise a new fabrication technique to make the device.

In a paper published online today in the journal Physical Review Letters, they describe how they transmitted a spin-polarized electrical current from the plastic material, through the gallium arsenide, and into a light-emitting diode (LED) as proof that the organic and inorganic parts were working together.

“Hybrid structures promise functionality that no other materials, neither organic nor inorganic, can currently achieve alone,” Johnston-Halperin said. “We’ve opened the door to linking this exciting new material to traditional electronic devices with transistor and logic functionality. In the longer term this work promises new, chemically based functionality for spintronic devices.”

Normal electronics encode computer data based on a binary code of ones and zeros, depending on whether an electron is present or not within the material. But researchers have long known that electrons can be polarized to orient in particular directions, like a bar magnet. They refer to this orientation as spin -- either “spin up” or “spin down” -- and this approach, dubbed spintronics, has been applied to memory-based technologies for modern computing. For example, the terabyte drives now commercially available would not be possible without spintronic technology.

If scientists could expand spintronic technology beyond memory applications into logic and computing applications, major advances in information processing could follow, Johnston-Halperin explained. Spintronic logic would theoretically require much less power, and produce much less heat, than current electronics, while enabling computers to turn on instantly without “booting up.”

Hybrid and organic devices further promise computers that are lighter and more flexible, much as organic LEDs are now replacing inorganic LEDs in the production of flexible displays.

A spintronic semiconductor must be magnetic, so that the spin of electrons can be flipped for data storage and manipulation. Few typical semiconductors – that is, inorganic semiconductors – are magnetic. Of those that are, all require extreme cold, with operating temperatures below −150 degrees Fahrenheit or −100 degrees Celsius. That’s colder than the coldest outdoor temperature ever recorded in Antarctica.

“In order to build a practical spintronic device, you need a material that is both semiconducting and magnetic at room temperature. To my knowledge, Art's organic materials are the only ones that do that,” Johnston-Halperin said. The organic magnetic semiconductors were developed by Epstein and his long-standing collaborator Joel S. Miller of the University of Utah.

The biggest barrier that the researchers faced was device fabrication. Traditional inorganic devices are made at high temperatures with harsh solvents and acids that organics can’t tolerate. Fang and Bozdag solved this problem by building the inorganic part in a traditional cleanroom, and then adding an organic layer in Epstein’s customized organics lab – a complex process that required a redesign of the circuitry in both parts.

“You could ask, why didn’t we go with all organics, then?” Johnston-Halperin said. “Well, the reality is that industry already knows how to make devices out of inorganic materials. That expertise and equipment is already in place. If we can just get organic and inorganic materials to work together, then we can take advantage of that existing infrastructure to move spintronics forward right away.”

He added that much work will need to be done before manufacturers can mass-produce hybrid spintronics. But as a demonstration of fundamental science, this first hybrid circuit lays the foundation for technologies to come.

For the demonstration, the researchers used the organic magnet, which they made from a polymer called vanadium tetracyanoethylene, to polarize the spins in an electrical current. This electrical current then passed through the gallium arsenide layer, and into an LED.

To confirm that the electrons were still polarized when they reached the LED, the researchers measured the spectrum and polarization of light shining from the LED. The light was indeed polarized, indicating the initial polarization of the incoming electrons.

The fact that they were able to measure the electrons’ polarization with the LED also suggests that other researchers can use this same technique to test spin in other organic systems.

Coauthors on the paper included former doctoral student Chia-Yi Chen and former postdoctoral researcher Patrick Truitt.

This research was funded by the National Science Foundation’s Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers program, Ohio State’s Institute for Materials Research, and the Department of Energy.

Contacts: Ezekiel Johnston-Halperin, (614) 247-4074; Johnston-halperi.1@osu.edu
Arthur J. Epstein, (614) 292-1133; Epstein.2@osu.edu
Written by Pam Frost Gorder, (614) 292-9475; Gorder.1@osu.edu

Ezekiel Johnston-Halperin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.osu.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL
23.06.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

nachricht Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?
23.06.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>