Spintronics News, Resources & Information

Spintronics is the new science of computers and memory chips that are based on electron spin rather than (or in addition to) the charge (used in electronics). Spintronics is an exciting field that holds promise to build faster and more efficient computers and other devices

An efficient spin-charge converter based on GaAs

A team of researchers from Germany, the UK, Japan and the Czech republic developed an efficient spin-charge converter based on GaAs. This is the first time that such an efficient spin-charge converter was developed from a "common" material (comparable efficiences were only observed in converters made from platinum).

A spin-charge converter enable the transformation of electric into magnetic signals and vice versa. These converters are essential tools for efficient, simply and precise spin manipulation using electric fields. The main principle behind these converters is the so called spin-Hall effect.

New Spintronics book: Handbook of Spintronics

This massive two-volume 1,500 pages book covers all aspects of spintronics science and technology, including fundamental physics, materials properties and processing, established and emerging device technology and applications.

Comprising 60 chapters from a large international team of leading researchers across academia and industry, this book provides readers with an up-to-date and comprehensive review of this dynamic field of research.

IBM developed a Spintronics-based non-contact position sensor

Researchers from IBM Research labs in Zurich developed a Spintronics based small-sized, low cost non-optical, non-contact position sensor. This sensor detect changes in a high-gradient magnetic field of a microscale magnetic dipole. The sensor can achieve sensitivities of up to 40 Ohm/µm, which leads to a noise floor of 0.5 pm/sqrt(Hz) over more than a megahertz bandwidth.

Magnetoresistance-based position sensors have been known for a long time, but their use in nanotechnology was limited due to a relatively low sensitivity and a large amount of hysteresis. These issues were solved by IBM by operating the spintronic sensor close to the pole of a micromagnetic dipole. This is where the magnetic field has an extremely high gradient, which increases as the dimensions of the micromagnet are scaled down.

Heusler alloys shown to have 100% spin polarization

Researchers from the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) managed to directly observe the 100% spin polarization of a Heusler compound. A Heusler alloy is made from several metallic elements arranged in a lattice structure, and the researchers used the compound Co2MnSi. This paves the way towards using Heusler materials for spintronics devices.

Spin polarization is the degree of parallel orientation of the spins of the electrons that transport the charge. The ideal spintronics material has the maximum possible spin polarization. The Heusler alloy used in this material was shown to have an almost complete spin polarization at room temperature.

New nanoscale magnetic component may improve magnetic memory efficiency and scalability

Researchers at UCLA developed a new nanoscale magnetic component for computer memory chips that could significantly improve their energy efficiency and scalability. The innovative asymmetric structure allows it to better exploit electrons' spin and orbital properties, making it much more power efficient than today's computer memory.

The structure devised at UCLA eliminates the need for an adjacent magnetic field. The researchers instead created an effective magnetic field by varying the angle of the structure by just a few atoms, in a shape resembling a cheese wedge: thicker on one end and sloping downward to a thinner edge on the other end.

Intel and Georgia Tech developed a modeling platform to advance spintronics interconnect research

Georgia Institute of Technology, in collaboration (and sponsorship) from Intel developed a physics-based modeling platform that advances spintronics interconnect research for next-generation computing.

The researchers are focusing on developing spintronics switches with adequate connectivity. They are researching the communicating between spin-logic devices and they demonstrated that interconnects are an even more important challenge for beyond-CMOS switches.

A Spintronics pioneers won the €1 million 2014 Millennium Technology Prize

Stuart Parkin, an IBM fellow and director of the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics has won the €1 million 2014 Millennium Technology Prize. Parkin's major achievement was the application of giant magnetoresistance (GMR) to create extremely sensitive devices that can detect tiny magnetic fields. This enabled a huge expansion in hard disk data capacity.

The award committee said that the award was given for his "pioneering contribution to the science and application of spintronic materials and his work leading to a prodigious growth in the capacity to store digital information".

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