Graphene is one of the leading candidates for Spintronics materials, and now researchers from Manchester University report on a new breakthrough - they managed to create elementary magnetic moments in graphene and then switch them on and off. This is the first time magnetism itself has been toggled, rather than the magnetization direction being reversed. They say this is a major breakthrough on the way towards graphene based Spintronics transistor-like devices.
The new research shows that electrons in graphene condense around vacancies ("holes" in the graphene sheet created when some carbon atoms are removed) - and create small "electronic cloud". These clouds carry a spin, and the researchers managed to dissipate and then condense back those clouds. So these clouds can be used to store information in graphene. To read them, one can use an electric current, or a spin flow.