University of Utah physicists successfully controlled an electrical current using the "spin" within electrons – a step toward building an organic "spin transistor": a plastic semiconductor switch for future ultrafast computers and electronics.

In the new study, the researchers showed that information can be carried by spins in an organic polymer, and that a spin transistor is possible because "we can convert the spin information into a current, and manipulate it and change it," says Lupton. "We are manipulating this information and reading it out again. We are writing it and reading it."

Boehme says spin transistors and other spin electronics could make possible much smaller computer chips, and computers that are orders of magnitude faster than today's.