In a breakthrough for applied physics, North Carolina State University researchers have developed a magnetic semiconductor memory device, using GaMnN thin films, which utilizes both the charge and spin of electrons at room temperature.
The finding represents a major breakthrough, as previous devices that used magnetic semiconductors (GaMnAs) and controlled electron spin were only functional at 100 K (or -173 Celsius). By controlling the spin of electrons, the new device represents a significant advance in semiconductor efficiency and speed.
The new device is also an advance on earlier experimental models because it uses only 5-6 volts to switch the bias of the electrons. Previous cold-temperature devices used much higher voltage. The research was published April 2 in Applied Physics Letters.
The research team included NC State professors S.M. Bedair and Nadia El-Masry; adjunct professor J.M. Zavada; post-doctoral research fellow N. Nepal; and graduate students Oliver Luen and P. Frajtag. The research was supported by the U.S. Army Research Office.
- N. Nepal, M. Oliver Luen, J. M. Zavada, S. M. Bedair, P. Frajtag, and N. A. El-Masry. Electric field control of room temperature ferromagnetism in III-N dilute magnetic semiconductor films. Applied Physics Letters, 2009; 94 (13): 132505 DOI: 10.1063/1.3110963
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