Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Researchers Control Collective Spin States Electrically at Room Temperature

This image is an artistic visualization of the atomic and magnetic moment structure of chromia. The presence of the permanent magnet in the center of the figure, with its magnetic stray-fields acting simultaneously with electric fields on chromia, captures the idea behind spintronics. Promising spintronic device concepts use an electrically controlled interface and surface magnetization. Surfaces of magnetoelectric materials such as chromia show roughness-insensitive, electrically switchable magnetization in the presence of a small symmetry breaking magnetic field opening up exciting prospects for spintronic applications. Credit: Christian Binek, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
This image is an artistic visualization of the atomic and magnetic moment structure of chromia. The presence of the permanent magnet in the center of the figure, with its magnetic stray-fields acting simultaneously with electric fields on chromia, captures the idea behind spintronics. Promising spintronic device concepts use an electrically controlled interface and surface magnetization. Surfaces of magnetoelectric materials such as chromia show roughness-insensitive, electrically switchable magnetization in the presence of a small symmetry breaking magnetic field opening up exciting prospects for spintronic applications. Credit: Christian Binek, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Abstract:
Breakthrough paves way to store and process information in novel spin-electronics

Researchers Control Collective Spin States Electrically at Room Temperature

Arlington, VA | Posted on August 18th, 2010

Processing large amounts of information in today's electronics requires large amounts of power, which results in heating. Heat can ruin modern electronics by potentially damaging the stuff that makes them work--the ever smaller and denser structures in a computer's "brain," the microprocessor that incorporates all of its logic functions.

So, researchers have been investigating something called "spintronics," a field of research that uses the spin state of electrons to pave the way for a future generation of advanced, fast, low-power, heat-limiting devices that perform memory and logic functions beyond today's microprocessors. The challenge: controlling electron spins with low power at room temperature instead of temperatures approaching absolute zero (-273 degrees Celsius) so their resulting technologies can carry out tasks in normal-use environments.

Now, new lab work at the University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL) Materials Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) may have made a significant breakthrough in the field of spintronics. Physicists there, led by professor Christian Binek, for the first time changed the orientation of a very large number of electron spins collectively at room temperature by pure electrical means, a feat that eventually could make devices that use spintronics more readily available for everyday uses.

Their method could revolutionize information technology by reducing power consumption, providing faster processing speeds and improving device function as compared to today's electronics.

How Spintronics Works

Spintronics works by collectively and uniformly controlling electron spin to encode information, that is, to convert information into digital code. Because devices derived from spintronics rely on electron spin, more devices can fit on a single chip. The UNL researchers found a new approach to collectively and uniformly manipulate electron spin that relies solely on pure voltage. By doing so, they were able to process magnetically encoded information by electrical means instead of using current, silicon-based, transistor technologies.

"Because potential devices developed on the basis of spintronics produce little to no heat, higher integration becomes feasible, allowing for more devices on a single chip, leading to faster speeds and more computing power," said Binek, lead researcher and an associate professor of physics at UNL.

The general rapid progress of information technology has been hampered by energy consumption and temperature concerns, he said. But spintronics presents a potential solution by making it possible to put more electronic microprocessors on a single "chip" without high-temperature effects.

The Breakthrough

The UNL MRSEC's team of scientists demonstrated a method that uses voltage to control electron spins at room temperature by growing a material that is easily magnetized on top of another exotic material called chromia.

The easily magnetized material, also called a "ferromagnetic film," carried the magnetization researchers wanted to use to electrically control the collective electron spin state. But since ferromagnets do not directly respond to electric fields, chromia--which produces excess magnetization when exposed to an electric field--was used to help transfer the influence of the electric field on the ferromagnetic film.

The UNL researchers controlled the collective spin state by applying a voltage with zero current to the chromia. They also were able to reverse the direction of all the spins in the ferromagnetic film. By doing this, they showed they could control electron spins in two distinct states, which is necessary to encode a "bit" of information, the basic unit of information in computing.

Information stored this way can be accessed immediately and processed with little to zero electric power consumption and vastly reduced heat.

"We changed the magnetic orientation by purely electrical means," said Binek. "That is to say applying a voltage and nothing more complicated is required. This makes it easy to store a 'bit' of information, and the information is not lost when power is lost to the device."

Next the research team will attempt to achieve the same effect with the help of chromia thin films in order to integrate their findings into micro or nanoelectronic devices. Once this is accomplished, the researchers want to make sure the effect can be made stable far above room temperature.

"We want to realize the variety of spintronic applications we have conceptually thought about for years," said Binek.

UNL Physics professor Peter Dowben along with assistant Physics professor and theorist Kirill Belashchenko contributed to the research by providing advanced spectroscopy methodology and major theoretical insights. They were helped by UNL graduate students Xi He, Yi Wang and UNL postdoctoral researcher Ning Wu. Anthony Caruso from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and Elio Vescovo from Brookhaven National Laboratory also contributed important research to the project.

The journal Nature Materials published the findings online June 20; the research was funded by UNL's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), which is supported by the National Science Foundation's Division of Materials Research.

Investigators
Christian Binek
Peter Dowben
Kirill Belashchenko
Anthony Caruso
Elio Vescovo

Related Institutions/Organizations
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Brookhaven National Laboratory

Locations
Nebraska
Missouri
New York

Related Awards
#0547887 CAREER: Education and Research on Nanoscale Spintronic Systems and Heterostructures
www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward.do?AwardNumber=0547887

Total Grants
$500,000

Related Websites
Robust isothermal electric control of exchange bias at room temperature:

www.nature.com/nmat/journal/v9/n7/full/nmat2785.html

####

For more information, please click here

Copyright © National Science Foundation

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Shape matters when light meets atom: Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices December 4th, 2016

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses: Medicine diffusion capsule could locally treat multiple ailments and diseases over several weeks December 3rd, 2016

Novel Electrode Structure Provides New Promise for Lithium-Sulfur Batteries December 3rd, 2016

Research Study: MetaSOLTM Shatters Solar Panel Efficiency Forecasts with Innovative New Coating: Coating Provides 1.2 Percent Absolute Enhancement to Triple Junction Solar Cells December 2nd, 2016

Possible Futures

Shape matters when light meets atom: Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices December 4th, 2016

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses: Medicine diffusion capsule could locally treat multiple ailments and diseases over several weeks December 3rd, 2016

Novel Electrode Structure Provides New Promise for Lithium-Sulfur Batteries December 3rd, 2016

Deep insights from surface reactions: Researchers use Stampede supercomputer to study new chemical sensing methods, desalination and bacterial energy production December 2nd, 2016

Academic/Education

Oxford Nanoimaging report on how the Nanoimager, a desktop microscope delivering single molecule, super-resolution performance, is being applied at the MRC Centre for Molecular Bacteriology & Infection November 22nd, 2016

The University of Applied Sciences in Upper Austria uses Deben tensile stages as an integral part of their computed tomography research and testing facility October 18th, 2016

Enterprise In Space Partners with Sketchfab and 3D Hubs for NewSpace Education October 13th, 2016

New Agricultural Research Center Debuts at UCF October 12th, 2016

Spintronics

Making spintronic neurons sing in unison November 18th, 2016

Scientists find technique to improve carbon superlattices for quantum electronic devices: In a paradigm shift from conventional electronic devices, exploiting the quantum properties of superlattices holds the promise of developing new technologies October 20th, 2016

A new spin on superconductivity: Harvard physicists pass spin information through a superconductor October 16th, 2016

NREL discovery creates future opportunity in quantum computing: Research into perovskites looks beyond material's usage for efficient solar cells September 9th, 2016

Nanoelectronics

Supersonic spray yields new nanomaterial for bendable, wearable electronics: Film of self-fused nanowires clear as glass, conducts like metal November 23rd, 2016

What a twist: Silicon nanoantennas turn light around: The theoretical results will allow scientists to design nanodevices with extraordinary features for use in optoelectronics November 21st, 2016

2-D material a brittle surprise: Rice University researchers finds molybdenum diselenide not as strong as they thought November 14th, 2016

UCR researchers discover new method to dissipate heat in electronic devices: By modulating the flow of phonons through semiconductor nanowires, engineers can create smaller and faster devices November 13th, 2016

Announcements

Shape matters when light meets atom: Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices December 4th, 2016

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses: Medicine diffusion capsule could locally treat multiple ailments and diseases over several weeks December 3rd, 2016

Novel Electrode Structure Provides New Promise for Lithium-Sulfur Batteries December 3rd, 2016

Research Study: MetaSOLTM Shatters Solar Panel Efficiency Forecasts with Innovative New Coating: Coating Provides 1.2 Percent Absolute Enhancement to Triple Junction Solar Cells December 2nd, 2016

Grants/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

Shape matters when light meets atom: Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices December 4th, 2016

Quantum obstacle course changes material from superconductor to insulator December 1st, 2016

'Back to the Future' inspires solar nanotech-powered clothing November 15th, 2016

2-D material a brittle surprise: Rice University researchers finds molybdenum diselenide not as strong as they thought November 14th, 2016

Research partnerships

Deep insights from surface reactions: Researchers use Stampede supercomputer to study new chemical sensing methods, desalination and bacterial energy production December 2nd, 2016

Quantum obstacle course changes material from superconductor to insulator December 1st, 2016

Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics November 28th, 2016

Single photon converter -- a key component of quantum internet November 28th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project