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Plastic Shows Promise For Spintronics, Magnetic Computer Memory

Date:
September 25, 2002
Source:
Ohio State University
Summary:
Researchers at Ohio State University and their colleagues have expanded the possibilities for a new kind of electronics, known as spintronics. Though spintronics technology has yet to be fully developed, it could result in computers that store more data in less space, process data faster, and consume less power. It could even lead to computers that "boot up" instantly, said Arthur J. Epstein, professor of physics and chemistry and director of Ohio State's Center for Materials Research.
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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Researchers at Ohio State University and their colleagues have expanded the possibilities for a new kind of electronics, known as spintronics.

Though spintronics technology has yet to be fully developed, it could result in computers that store more data in less space, process data faster, and consume less power. It could even lead to computers that "boot up" instantly, said Arthur J. Epstein, professor of physics and chemistry and director of Ohio State's Center for Materials Research.

Spintronics uses magnetic fields to control the spin of electrons. In the current issue of the journal Advanced Materials, Epstein and his coauthors report using a magnetic field to make nearly all the moving electrons inside a sample of plastic spin in the same direction, an effect called spin polarization. Achieving spin polarization is the first step in converting the plastic into a device that could read and write spintronic data inside a working computer.

What's unique about this work is that the researchers achieved spin polarization in a polymer, which offers several advantages over silicon and gallium arsenide -- the traditional materials for electronics.

Epstein and long-time collaborator Joel S. Miller, professor of chemistry at the University of Utah, co-authored the paper with Vladimir N. Prigodin, a research specialist; Nandyala P. Raju, a research associate; and Konstantin I. Pokhodynya, a visiting researcher, all of Ohio State.

Since the mid 1980s, Epstein and Miller have been developing plastic electronics, most recently a plastic magnet that conducts electricity. Epstein characterized this latest project as part of a natural progression of their work toward spintronics.

"Electronics and magnetism have transformed modern society," said Epstein. "The advent of plastic electronics opens up many opportunities for new technologies such as flexible displays and inexpensive solar cells."

"With this latest study, we've now shown that we can make all of the components that go into spintronics from plastics," Epstein continued. "So it is timely to bring all these components together to make plastic spintronics."

Current efforts to develop spintronics with traditional inorganic semiconductors have been stymied by the fact that most such materials aren't magnetic, except at very low temperatures. Creating a cryogenically cold environment inside a hot computer interior -- where temperatures reach up to 120 F (50 C) -- would be expensive. Plus, any cooling equipment would take up precious real estate inside a small device.

That's why the Ohio State and Utah researchers chose a plastic called vanadium tetracyanoethanide


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Materials provided by Ohio State University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Plastic Shows Promise For Spintronics, Magnetic Computer Memory." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 September 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/09/020925063707.htm>.
Ohio State University. (2002, September 25). Plastic Shows Promise For Spintronics, Magnetic Computer Memory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 19, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/09/020925063707.htm
Ohio State University. "Plastic Shows Promise For Spintronics, Magnetic Computer Memory." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/09/020925063707.htm (accessed June 19, 2024).

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