Researchers in Germany and Latvia show that a single electron pump can be used to manipulate spin.
For a spintronics device, we need to inject a single elctron with a spin value. The researchers have seen that this is possible. In the current issue of the physics journal Applied Physics Letters, they present investigations of a so-called single electron pump. This semiconductor device allows the ejection of exactly one single electron per clock cycle into a semiconductor channel. In the measurements presented it was shown for the first time that such a single electron pump can also be reliably operated in high magnetic fields. For sufficiently high applied fields, the pump then delivers exactly one single electron with predefined spin polarization per pumping cycle. It thus delivers spin-polarized electrons virtually on demand. The robust design and the high achievable clock rate in the gigahertz range makes such a spin-polarized single electron pump a promising candidate especially also for future spintronic applications.