Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Spintronics Discovery

10.05.2013
From powerful computers to super-sensitive medical and environmental detectors that are faster, smaller and use less energy — yes, we want them, but how do we get them?

In research that is helping to lay the groundwork for the electronics of the future, University of Delaware scientists have confirmed the presence of a magnetic field generated by electrons which scientists had theorized existed, but that had never been proven until now.

The finding, which is reported in the journal Nature Communications, expands the potential for harnessing the “spin” or magnetic properties of electrons — adding a fundamental new building block to the pioneering field of spintronics.

John Xiao, Unidel Professor of Physics and Astronomy at UD, is the lead author of the study. His co-authors include research associate Xin Fan, graduate students Jun Wu and Yunpeng Chen, and undergraduate student Matthew Jerry from UD, and Huaiwu Zhang from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China.

Today’s semiconductors, which are essential to the operation of a broad array of electronics, carry along the electrical charge of electrons, but make no use of the magnetic or “spin” properties of these subatomic particles. Xiao and his team are working to unveil those properties in UD’s Center for Spintronics and Biodetection.

As Xiao explains, in the presence of a magnet, an electron will take a “spin up” or “spin down” position, correlating to the binary states of 1 or 0 that computers use to encode and process data. One spin state aligns with the magnetic field, and one opposes it. A spintronics device requires an excess number of either spin-up or spin-down electrons. Controlling the direction of the magnetization is a major goal in the fledgling field.

For the past few years, scientists have succeeded in generating a pure spin current in which electrons with opposite spins move in opposite directions. This is achieved by passing an electrical current through a heavy metal that’s not magnetic, such as platinum, tungsten and tantalum.

However, in a double layer of heavy metal and ferromagnetic material (for example, iron or cobalt), this pure spin current will diffuse into the ferromagnetic material. When this occurs, Xiao and his team have detected a magnetic field, which can switch the material’s magnetization.

This magnetic field is confined inside the ferromagnetic material unlike the conventional magnetic field generated from a magnet, which is difficult to shield. Xiao says this finding is particularly important to high-density integrated circuits, such as magnetic random access memory, in which shielding the magnetic field between cells is “a nightmare.”

“This magnetic field was predicted previously but was never experimentally confirmed. We demonstrated that it’s there,” Xiao says. “We now have a new means of generating a magnetic field and controlling the direction of a nanomagnet, as well as a new measurement technique to characterize the magnetic field.”

Advancing this nanoscale research requires specialized laboratory equipment and facilities. In addition to the sophisticated magnetometers in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UD, Xiao and his team will have access to new, state-of-the-art facilities in the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory (ISE Lab), a 194,000-square-foot building set to open at UD this fall.

Among the core facilities in this major hub for teaching and research will be a 10,000-square-foot nanofabrication facility, which Xiao will co-direct. There, he will continue his research in the development of next-generation spintronic devices.

Funding for Xiao’s study was provided by the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.

Andrea Boyle Tippett | Newswise
Further information:
http://www.udel.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

The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika

23.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Melting solid below the freezing point

23.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>