This rendering illustrates the theoretical orientations of electron spin (red arrows) at various energy levels (multicolored surface) in a material studied by Nebraska physicists. The near-uniform orientation of those spins would be ideal in a spintronic device that can process spin orientation as bits of information. Credit: Springer Nature / Nature Communications.
Spin can be measured because it generates tiny magnetic fields. … But spin can be measured very simply in common metals such as copper or aluminium. Less energy is needed to change spin than to generate a current to maintain electron charges in a device, so spintronics devices use less power
Enter a material known as bismuth indium oxide. Based on calculations run through the university’s Holland Computing Center, the crystalline material features a set of atomic symmetries that seem to pin an electron’s spin in a certain direction that’s independent of its momentum. If true, engineers could begin using voltage to dictate spin without worrying about how defects affect an electron’s momentum.
Spintronic devices already consume substantially less energy than standard electronics. Tsymbal said the potential to write spin orientation using voltage rather than electric current could make the devices even more efficient – potentially up to 1,000 times more so.
Spintronics (a portmanteau meaning spin transport electronics), also known as spin electronics, is the study of the intrinsic spin of the electron and its associated magnetic moment, in addition to its fundamental electronic charge, in solid-state devices.
Spintronics fundamentally differs from traditional electronics in that, in addition to charge state, electron spins are exploited as a further degree of freedom, with implications in the efficiency of data storage and transfer. Spintronic systems are most often realised in dilute magnetic semiconductors (DMS) and Heusler alloys and are of particular interest in the field of quantum computing.
Article originally appeared in
Researchers ID promising key to performance of next-gen electronics
November 13, 2018 by Scott Schrage, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Tsymbal and Tao, a postdoctoral researcher in physics and astronomy, reported their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Explore further: Sending spin waves into an insulating 2-D magnet
More information: L. L. Tao et al. Persistent spin texture enforced by symmetry, Nature Communications (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-05137-0
Picture Credit: levoodoo, CC BY-NC