Researchers develop a Magnon Spin Valve

Researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), the University of Konstanz and Tohoku University developed a spin-valve structure based on several ferromagnets - which can detect the efficiency of magnon currents depending on the magnetic configuration of the device.

Magnon Spin valve (Tohoku JGU)

The researchers say that this is a new "building block" for Magnon Spintronics, and this kind of device could be used to the transmission or blocking of incoming spin information.

Researchers demonstrate the world's first spintronics-based AI

Researchers at Tohoku University demonstrated a spintronics-based artificial intelligence (AI) device. The researchers developed an artificial neural network using micro-scale magnetic spintronic device.

AI spintronics device photos (Tohoku Uni)

The researchers say that this spintronic device is capable of memorizing arbitral values between 0 and 1 in an analogue manner unlike the conventional magnetic devices, and thus perform the learning function, which is served by synapses in the brain. This is still an early stage (the researchers call this a proof-of-concept demo) but spintronics has a high potential to enable ultra low-power and fast neural-network devices.

Researchers finally explain ferromagnetism in Mn-doped GaAs

Researchers at Tohoku University managed to find the origin and the mechanism of ferromagnetism in Mn-doped GaAs. This phenomonon has been puzzling researchers for over 20 years, and this new explanation may help to accelerate the development of spintronic devices made from such materials.

Tohoku Crystal structure of (Ga,Mn)As

Mn-doped GaAs crystals exhibit characteristics and properties of both semiconductor and magnet. It is possible to use an electric field to control the magnetism in such materials - which makes them very appealing candidates for spintronic devices.

Researchers show that plasmon resonance can be useful for spintronics applications

Researchers from Tohoku University and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) have confirmed that surface plasmon resonance can be used to generate spin currents.

Tohoku JST plasmon resonance for spintronics

Surface plasmon resonance happens when electrons are hit by photos and react by vibrating. It is commonly used in bio-sensors and lab-on-a-chop systems. The researchers have shown that directing light on a certain magnetic material, a spin current can be produced and controlled.

Zigzag-edged graphene nanoribbons suitable for spintronics applications

A zigzag-edged graphene nanoribbon is the most magnetic type - and these ribbons are considered the most suitable ones for spintronics applications. Researchers from UCLA and Tohoku University developed a new self-assembly method to fabricate pristine zigzag graphene nanoribbons.

The researchers say they can control the ribbons length, edge configuration and location on the substrate.

NEC and Tohoku University developed a spintronics text-search chip that cuts power reduction by 99%

NEC and Tohoku's University have jointly developed a new spintronics-based logic prototype chip specifically aimed towards text search systems. Early testing suggest that this new chip has drastically reduced power consumption - 1% or even less compared to conventional systems (DRAM and CPU). This significant reduction was achieved due to the non-volatility of the spintronic circuit which only requires power to necessary circuit blocks and does not require any standby power.

NEC and Tohoku developed new multi-functional CAM cells for text-search logic. The new CAM cells are able to avoid searching for long index texts when searching for short lengths of text within a large amount of index data. This was achieved by setting up combinations (patterns) of input signals that represent long texts. This enables circuits to detect when a long text is input, and to avoid any further unnecessary operations.

Fullerene used to preserve electron spin over long distances

Researchers from Tohoku University have shown that electron spins can be preserved for long distances using optimized organic compounds. This is because organic compounds are made mostly from carbon, in which the spin–orbit interaction is quite small. Using fullerene (C60) films the researchers made devices in which electrons traveled up to 110 nm at room temperature while preserving their spin.

The researchers used fullerence because there's no hydrogen in it (common in other organic materials) and this helps reduce the hyper fine interactions between electron and nuclear spins that can induce spin-flipping events. They built an organic spin valve in which two ferromagnetic electrons are placed in contact with an organic layer.

NEC and Tohoku University co-develop new "zero standby power" Spintronics logic ICs

Tohoku University and NEC developed new "zero standby power" Spintronics logic ICs. They actually developed a library that establishes automatic design flow of nonvolatile logic-in-memory integrated circuits. Using this library they managed to design and make a prototype image processing chip that reduces "unnecessary power consumption" by up to 75%.

This new chip uses 25 processors, but by running only the needed processors for each operation and turning off the power for the unused ones, the power consumption is reduced. NEC says that the new library can be used in addition to existing design tools and will enable large-scale logic-in memory integrated circuits, even without expertise in circuit design or Spintronics technology.

Video lecture: electronic spin polarization in semiconductor nanostructures

Makoto Kohda from the Tohoku University gave a special presentation titled "electronic spin polarization in semiconductor nanostructures". In his talk Makoto discusses spin-polarized current generation without external magnetic fields or ferromagnets (by using Stern-Gerlach spin separation in semiconductor nanostructures). The talk outline is fundamental technologies for Spintronics, spin-dependent force for spin generation/detection, quantum point contact (QPC) for inducting spin polarization, temperature stability for spin polarization in QPC and quantitative evaluation of spin polarization by shortnoise.

This presentation was given at Keio University's Semiconductor-Spintronics workshop which took place on January 24.