Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

All-electric Spintronics Created

Date:
October 30, 2009
Source:
University of Cincinnati
Summary:
Scientists have always attempted to develop spin transistors by incorporating local ferromagnets into device architectures. A far better and practical way to manipulate the orientation of an electron's spin would be by using purely electrical means. Researchers have now found an innovative and novel way to control an electron's spin orientation using purely electrical means.

(Left) Scanning electron micrograph of the quantum point contact schematically illustrates unpolarized (spin up and spin down) electrons incident on the left coming out of the device spin-polarized with spin up. (Right) Spatial distribution of spin polarization in the quantum point contact constriction.

A multidisciplinary team of UC researchers is the first to find an innovative and novel way to control an electron's spin orientation using purely electrical means.

Their findings were recently published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

For decades, the transistors inside radios, televisions and other everyday electronic items have transmitted data by controlling the movement of the charge of an electron. Scientists have since discovered that transistors that function by controlling an electron's spin instead of its charge would use less energy, generate less heat and operate at higher speeds. This has resulted in a new field of research -- spin electronics or spintronics -- that offers one of the most promising paradigms for the development of novel devices for use in the post-CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) era.

Until now, scientists have attempted to develop spin transistors by incorporating local ferromagnets into device architectures. This results in significant design complexities, especially in view of the rising demand for smaller and smaller transistors," says Philippe Debray, research professor in the Department of Physics in the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences. "A far better and practical way to manipulate the orientation of an electron's spin would be by using purely electrical means, like the switching on and off of an electrical voltage. This will be spintronics without ferromagnetism or all-electric spintronics, the holy grail of semiconductor spintronics."

The team of researchers led by Debray and Professor Marc Cahay (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering) is the first to find an innovative and novel way to control an electron's spin orientation using purely electrical means.

"We used a quantum point contact -- a short quantum wire -- made from the semiconductor indium arsenide to generate strongly spin-polarized current by tuning the potential confinement of the wire by bias voltages of the gates that create it," Debray says.

In the diagram at left, (Left) Scanning electron micrograph of the quantum point contact schematically illustrates unpolarized (spin up and spin down) electrons incident on the left coming out of the device spin-polarized with spin up. (Right) Spatial distribution of spin polarization in the quantum point contact constriction.

Debray continues, "The key condition for the success of the experiment is that the potential confinement of the wire must be asymmetric -- the transverse opposite edges of the quantum point contact must be asymmetrical. This was achieved by tuning the gate voltages. This asymmetry allows the electrons -- thanks to relativistic effects -- to interact with their surroundings via spin-orbit coupling and be polarized. The coupling triggers the spin polarization and the Coulomb electron-electron interaction enhances it."

Controlling spin electronically has major implications for the future development of spin devices. The work by Debray's team is the first step. The next experimental step would be to achieve the same results at a higher temperature using a different material such as gallium arsenide.

This work was supported by National Science Foundation awards ECCS 0725404 and DMR 0710581.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Cincinnati. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Debray et al. All-electric quantum point contact spin-polarizer. Nature Nanotechnology, 2009; DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2009.240

Cite This Page:

University of Cincinnati. "All-electric Spintronics Created." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091027162001.htm>.
University of Cincinnati. (2009, October 30). All-electric Spintronics Created. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091027162001.htm
University of Cincinnati. "All-electric Spintronics Created." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091027162001.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

AP (July 18, 2014) The Obama administration approved the use of sonic cannons to discover deposits under the ocean floor by shooting sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine through waters shared by endangered whales and turtles. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Newsy (July 18, 2014) The wreckage of the German submarine U-166 has become clearly visible for the first time since it was discovered in 2001. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Reuters - US Online Video (July 17, 2014) President Barak Obama stopped by at a lunch counter in Delaware before making remarks about boosting the nation's infrastructure. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

TheStreet (July 16, 2014) Oil Futures are bouncing back after tumbling below $100 a barrel for the first time since May yesterday. Jeff Grossman is the president of BRG Brokerage and trades at the NYMEX. Grossman tells TheStreet the Middle East is always a concern for oil traders. Oil prices were pushed down in recent weeks on Libya increasing its production. Supply disruptions in Iraq fading also contributed to prices falling. News from China's economic front showing a growth for the second quarter also calmed fears on its slowdown. Jeff Grossman talks to TheStreet's Susannah Lee on this and more on the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins