Print 26 comment(s) - last by Diesel Donkey.. on Nov 4 at 11:35 AM

Breakthrough controls the spin of electrons via all electric means

Many of the electronic devices in your home transmit data by controlling the movement of the charge in an electron. Researchers and scientists have found that by using a different means that controls the spin of an electron rather than its charge, transistors would require less energy and create less heat while being able to operate at faster speeds.

The field of research into controlling the spin of an electron is called spin electronics or spintronics for short. A group of researchers at the University of Cincinnati has developed a novel way to control the spin of electrons using pure electric means. The researchers have published their findings in Nature Nanotechnology.

Before the researchers made their breakthrough, the only way to control the spin of electrons was by using local ferromagnets in device architectures. The scientists say that this technique results in design complexities when the demands for electronics require smaller and smaller transistors.

Philippe Debray, research professor in the Department of Physics in the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences said, "Until now, scientists have attempted to develop spin transistors by incorporating local ferromagnets into device architectures. This results in significant design complexities, especially in view of the rising demand for smaller and smaller transistors. A far better and practical way to manipulate the orientation of an electron's spin would be by using purely electrical means, like the switching on and off of an electrical voltage. This will be spintronics without ferromagnetism or all-electric spintronics, the holy grail of semiconductor spintronics."

The team used a device called a quantum point contact for their breakthrough. Debray said, "We used a quantum point contact — a short quantum wire — made from the semiconductor indium arsenide to generate strongly spin-polarized current by tuning the potential confinement of the wire by bias voltages of the gates that create it."

He continued saying, "The key condition for the success of the experiment is that the potential confinement of the wire must be asymmetric — the transverse opposite edges of the quantum point contact must be asymmetrical. This was achieved by tuning the gate voltages. This asymmetry allows the electrons — thanks to relativistic effects — to interact with their surroundings via spin-orbit coupling and be polarized. The coupling triggers the spin polarization and the Coulomb electron–electron interaction enhances it."

The team says that the next step in their research is to achieve the same results at higher temperatures using a different material like gallium arsenide.

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RE: Over my head
By Diesel Donkey on 10/28/2009 1:26:22 PM , Rating: 3
They're controlling electron spin via electric voltage rather than magnetism. Applying voltages in a specific arrangement creates what looks like an altitude contour map where the peaks and valleys are indicative of electric potential energy rather than gravitational potential energy. If those contours are created to have just the right shape then it becomes possible to manipulate the angular momentum of the electron (energy due to "spinning" around the nucleus) in such a way that it alters the electron's inherent spin (think ball spinning on its own axis). This can be achieved because of the so-called spin-orbit interaction that causes the spin and the angular momentum to interact in very specific ways.

RE: Over my head
By ThisSpaceForRent on 10/28/2009 1:38:01 PM , Rating: 5
Can you put that in the form of a Star Trek analogy?

RE: Over my head
By inperfectdarkness on 10/28/2009 5:39:00 PM , Rating: 2
namely, is this going to allow the advent of positronic computing?

how will this impact current chipset transistors?

RE: Over my head
By Smartless on 10/28/2009 7:29:12 PM , Rating: 2
In other words Captain, we can launch a photon torpedo up their exhaust pipe.

RE: Over my head
By MrPoletski on 11/4/2009 9:39:42 AM , Rating: 2
The anti-positrons have a property known as co-orbital angular inertial force. This property is a factor of the physical motion of the anti-positron around it's nuclear host. The normalised value of this co-orbital angular inertial force can assume only 1 of 2 values, -1/2 and +1/2, for any given anti-positron.

The cheif engineer at the science station has found a way to alter this property between these two values using an electrical circuit, rather than the slow, bulky and complicated magnetodynamic and sub-space flip techniques.

RE: Over my head
By Diesel Donkey on 11/4/2009 11:35:20 AM , Rating: 2
I like it :)

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