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
Sources: Hailin Wang, professor of physics, UO College of Arts and Sciences, 541-346-4758 or 4807; firstname.lastname@example.org; Shannon O'Leary, 541-346-4807; email@example.com
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
ALMA discovers aluminum around young star
17.05.2019 | National Institutes of Natural Sciences
JQI researchers shed new light on atomic 'wave function'
17.05.2019 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...
With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.
Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...
'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.
However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...
Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future
When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...
Scientists develop a molecular recording tool that enables in vivo lineage tracing of embryonic cells
The beginning of new life starts with a fascinating process: A single cell gives rise to progenitor cells that eventually differentiate into the three germ...
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
17.05.2019 | Materials Sciences
17.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
17.05.2019 | Materials Sciences