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Last Updated: Monday, 20-Apr-2015 19:51:36 PDT


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Conventional electronic devices rely on the transport of electrical charge carriers - electrons - in a semiconductor such as silicon. Now, however, physicists are trying to exploit the 'spin' of the electron rather than its charge to create a remarkable new generation of 'spintronic' devices which will be smaller, more versatile and more robust than those currently making up silicon chips and circuit elements. The potential market is worth hundreds of billions of dollars a year. See Spintronics

All spintronic devices act according to the simple scheme: (1) information is stored (written) into spins as a particular spin orientation (up or down), (2) the spins, being attached to mobile electrons, carry the information along a wire, and (3) the information is read at a terminal. Spin orientation of conduction electrons survives for a relatively long time (nanoseconds, compared to tens of femtoseconds during which electron momentum decays), which makes spintronic devices particularly attractive for memory storage and magnetic sensors applications, and, potentially for quantum computing where electron spin would represent a bit (called qubit) of information. See Spintronics

Magnetoelectronics, Spin Electronics, and Spintronics are different names for the same thing: the use of electrons' spins (not just their electrical charge) in information circuits. See Magnetoelectronics, Spin Electronics, and Spintronics

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Websites dedicated to Spintronics

"... a web site dedicated to Spintronics: "Electronics" done with electron spin."

SUNY - University at Buffalo
The Center for Advanced Photonic and Electronic Materials (CAPEM) - Laboratory for Spintronics Research in Semiconductors (LSRS). Semiconductor Spintronics (PPT)

Walter Schottky Institute - Technische Universität München
Experimental Semiconductor Physics I (E24) - Prof. Gerhard Abstreiter - Spintronics

National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)

Materials and Devices Layer at UCSD - Spintronics

Electron Spin Formula and illustration

Spin Theory

Spintronic Materials Laboratory, Korea University

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Recent Spintronics news:

Date Range is 2005-06-01 to 2006-10-31

Molecular Spintronic Action Confirmed in Nanostructure
NIST October 13, 2006 Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have made the first confirmed “spintronic” device incorporating organic molecules, a potentially superior approach for innovative electronics that rely on the spin, and associated magnetic orientation, of electrons. The physicists created a nanoscale test structure to obtain clear evidence of the presence and action of specific molecules and magnetic switching behavior.

Improved Magnetic-Semiconductor Sandwich
Ohio University October 03, 2006 Researchers at Ohio University have created an improved magnetic semiconductor that solves a problem spintronics scientists have been investigating for years.

“We found a way to grow the metal on the semiconductor. The crystalline match between the two materials was nearly perfect. The advantage of this finding is in the growth process. By adjusting the conditions of the growth, we can tune the spin,” said Arthur Smith, associate professor of physics and astronomy and director of Ohio University’s Nanoscale & Quantum Phenomena Institute.

Scientist wins European award for 'spintronic' microchip design
CORDIS September 19, 2006 Professor Russell Cowburn from Imperial College London's Department of Physics picked up the €100,000 award for using nanotechnology to reproduce the key functions of semiconductor electronics in microchips using only the 'spin' of electrons, a quantum property.

Spin Hall effect detected at room temperature
nanotechweb September 12, 2006 Physicists in the US are the first to detect the spin Hall effect at room temperature, in what could be an important development in the quest for a practical source of spin-polarized electrons for spintronic devices.

Spintronics at room temperature
advanced nanotechnology August 31, 2006 Brian Wang: MIT research scientist Jagadeesh Moodera and his team have developed a material that works for spintronics at room temperature and is easy to create.

Magnetoresitive effect could boost storage density August 10, 2006 A team of researchers from Hitachi Cambridge Laboratory, the Czech Institute of Physics, the Universities of Cambridge and Nottingham have demonstrated a novel effect, called coulomb blockade anisotropic magnetoresistance (CBAMR).

Making magnetic semiconductors
nanotechweb August 02, 2006 A team from the University of Iowa, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Princeton University, all in the US, has inserted atoms of manganese at desired locations in the semiconductor gallium arsenide (GaAs) using a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM). The resulting magnetic semiconductor material could find a use in spintronic devices, creating chips that can both manipulate and store data.

Scientists build 'magnetic semiconductors' one atom at a time
Princeton July 28, 2006 In a stride that could hasten the development of computer chips that both calculate and store data, a team of Princeton scientists has turned semiconductors into magnets by the precise placement of metal atoms within a material from which chips are made. The effort marks the first time that scientists have achieved this degree of control over the atomic-level structure of a semiconductor, a goal that has eluded researchers for many years. The team used this unique capability to make a semiconductor magnetic, one atom at a time. (See also Spintronics research targets GaAs)

Spin doctors make something from nothing
University of New South Wales July 27, 2006 Electronic devices are always shrinking in size but it’s hard to imagine anything beating what researchers at the University of New South Wales have created: a tiny wire that doesn’t even use electrons to carry a current. Known as a hole quantum wire, it exploits the gaps – or holes - between electrons: unlike in a conventional electrical wire, the current flows in the absence of electrons.

Putting the right spin on nano-electronics July 20, 2006 Two Danish physicists at the Copenhagen University (CU) have mastered a technique for migrating electrons in a nano-transistor. Using quantum physics, the scientists have got the electrons at either end of a carbon nano-tube 'talking' to each other in perfect pitch.

Almaden Research Center celebrates two decades of whim, wonder June 05, 2006 The lab, said Dean, has the most diverse set of specialties compared with the other seven IBM research centers. In the past five years, the Almaden Center has:

• Collaborated with Stanford University to create a spintronics center. Spintronics -- controlling the spin or magnetization of electrons -- could help pave the way for faster, more malleable electronic parts. Commercial application is still years off.

• Created an ``intelligent bricks'' prototype -- a machine that condenses computing and storage ability in a smaller space. Inspired by biology, the Rubik's cube-like machine allows for parts to fail while the whole keeps working. There is no date for when it might be brought to market.

• Built the world's smallest working computer circuit by nudging molecules to cascade into each other, a demonstration of what could be the future of computer technology.

NVE Notified of Two Patent Grants
prnewswire May 30, 2006 NVE Corporation (Nasdaq: NVEC) said that it has been notified by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that two patents are expected to be granted today. The patents are titled "Two-Axis Magnetic Field Sensor" and "Superparamagnetic Devices."

NVE Notified of Grant of Patent
prnewswire April 04, 2006 NVE Corporation (Nasdaq: NVEC) said today that it has been notified by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office of the expected grant of a patent relating to magnetothermal Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory (MRAM).

International NANOSPIN project
NT-MDT March 30, 2006 

The Current Spin on Spintronics
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory March 18, 2006 Futurologists and high-tech gurus anticipate that the next big thing in the electronics industry will be spintronics, devices based on electron spin — smaller, faster, and more versatile than today's devices, which are based on electron charge.

Before the spintronic revolution can begin, however, scientists will need a much better understanding of spin currents created by the motion of electrons through a semiconductor. An important step in this direction has been taken by a team of scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley, led by Joe Orenstein, a physicist who holds a joint appointment with Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division and UC Berkeley's Physics Department.

Shrinking Magnetic Storage Media Down to the Nanoscale
Brookhaven National Laboratory March 14, 2006 In the world of electronic and magnetic devices, the goal is to get smaller. “The smaller space one bit of information can occupy, the more data you can get into a device and the faster it can operate,” says Yimei Zhu, a senior scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Zhu’s group has fabricated patterned magnetic films by depositing magnetic materials such as Permalloy and cobalt in patterns of dots, squares, or ellipses across a surface of nonmagnetic substrates such as carbon or silicon nitride. With each dot measuring about 100 nanometers, or billionths of a meter across, these materials could serve as building blocks for new nanoscale magneto-electronic devices and data storage media.

Western Institute of Nanoelectronics Established
University of California, Berkeley March 09, 2006 Starting grants of $18.2 million

Class Action Lawsuit Against NVE March 07, 2006 The law firm of Seeger Weiss LLP announces that it filed a class action lawsuit today in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota on behalf of purchasers of NVE Corporation ("NVE") (Nasdaq:NVEC) common stock in the open market between May 22, 2003 and February 11, 2005 (the "Class Period"). The complaint seeks remedies for the class under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act") and the Securities Act of 1933.

Capturing Emerging Nanotechnology February 18, 2006 Electronic mail, Web sites, conversations, and experiments about the emerging field of nanotechnology might quickly slip into the past without the work of historians working to document them as they occur. W. Patrick McCray is attempting to understand the history of nanotechnology as it emerges, a goal that he will pursue with his research group at the new Center for Nanotechnology in Society. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the center opened just last month at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Breakthrough 1.2 Petabyte Spintronics 3.5 Disk Drive
Colossal Storage Corp. February 13, 2006 Double sided disk having 1.2 Petabytes of storage can be produced by separating the ferroelectric molecular coating layer by a plastic, metal, glass, or ceramic substrate

The Current Spin on Spintronics
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory January 31, 2006 Futurologists and high-tech gurus anticipate that the next big thing in the electronics industry will be spintronics, devices based on electron spin — smaller, faster, and more versatile than today's devices, which are based on electron charge.

Before the spintronic revolution can begin, however, scientists will need a much better understanding of spin currents created by the motion of electrons through a semiconductor.

Computer technologies based on magnetic spin
Argonne National Laboratory January 18, 2006 The researchers learned that swirling spin structures called magnetic vortices, when trapped within lithographically patterned ferromagnetic structures, behave in novel ways. In a nickel-iron alloy, the two vortices swirl in opposite directions, one clockwise and the other counterclockwise. However, the researchers discovered that the magnetic polarity of the central core of the vortices, like the eye of a hurricane, controlled the time-evolution of the magnetic properties, not the swirling direction.

Group leader Sam Bader, an Argonne scientist for more than 30 years, explained that the work could lead to the next generation of electronic devices. “When the first computer hard disk was introduced 50 years ago, it required a rather large size to store each bit of digital information. On today's computer disks, the corresponding size is about one-50-millionth of that needed in the original disks. We are now moving well into the nanoscale range, and nanomagnetism is one of the real drivers of the nanotechnology field.”

Researchers Develop Quantum Processor January 13, 2006 A computer chip based on the esoteric science of quantum mechanics has been created by researchers at the University of Michigan. The chip might well pave the way for a new generation of supercomputers. Employing the same semiconductor-fabrication techniques used to create common computer chips, the Michigan team was able to trap a single atom within an integrated chip and control it using electrical signals.

Albany leads in tiny realm January 03, 2006 A new nanotechnology research consortium intent on finding a successor to the traditional way of building silicon microchips could give a big boost to the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

Besides the $240 million that UAlbany is expected to reap from the project over the next five years, the school also stands to gain stature in the academic world. It has been designated head of the consortium, which includes six other schools: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Yale University, Purdue University and the Georgia Institute of Technology. Gov. George Pataki is expected to announce the state's $80 million contribution to the $435 million project today.

In the works: Chips on the atomic scale
smalltimes January 03, 2006 The transition to a post-silicon era is predicted in a report called the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors issued Saturday. The report, which is produced cooperatively by semiconductor industry associations from Europe, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States, is used by the semiconductor industry as a planning tool to determine how best to spend research and development money for new technology.

Spintronics generating excitement in tech world
EETimes December 30, 2005 Industry interest in spintronics is rising fast and many spin-based devices will hit the market in the next three to five years, with MRAM expected as early as 2006. Other applications include the use of spintronics in quantum computation and the possible development of the first ever quantum computer. Revolutionary spin transistors are also on the cards and could well challenge the monopoly of semiconductor electronics.

NVE Awarded Additional DoD Bio-Detection Funding
prnewswire December 13, 2005 NVE Corporation (Nasdaq: NVEC) announced today that it has been awarded additional Bio- Magnetic Interfacing Concepts (BioMagnetICs) program funding by the Defense Sciences Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Nanoelectronics Research Grants to U.S. Universities
prnewswire December 08, 2005 Seeking to accelerate nanoelectronics research at U.S. universities to benefit the long term needs of the semiconductor industry, a consortium of companies has announced its first research grants under the Semiconductor Industry Association's (SIA) new Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI).

NVE Notified of Magnetothermal MRAM Patent Grant
prnewswire November 08, 2005 NVE Corporation said today that it has been notified by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office of the expected grant of a key patent for magnetothermal Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory (MRAM).

NVE Awarded Additional VMRAM Funding by DoD
prnewswire October 03, 2005 NVE Corporation announced today that it has been awarded additional funding by the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR) to continue the development of deep sub-micron Vertical Transport Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory (VMRAM).

(Ed.'s note: further into the article you will read "MRAM is a revolutionary memory fabricated with nanotechnology that uses electron spin to store data." - saying that "MRAM is a revolutionary memory fabricated with nanotechnology" is misleading and confusing. A better wording might be "MRAM is a revolutionary memory fabricated using nanoscale technology."

Microchip design could be key to mobile phone memory September 08, 2005 Researchers from Imperial College London, Durham University and the University of Sheffield say their new computer chip design will enable large amounts of data to be stored in small volumes by using a complex interconnected network of nanowires, with computing functions and decisions performed at the nodes where they meet – a similar approach to neurons and axons in the brain.

Discovery of 'Doping' Mechanism in Semiconductor Nanocrystals
U.S. Naval Research Laboratory July 07, 2005 Novel electronic devices based upon nanotechnology may soon be realized due to a new understanding of how impurities, or 'dopants,' can be intentionally incorporated into semiconductor nanocrystals.

Scientists put the squeeze on electron spins
LANL June 16, 2005 By squeezing the crystal in a controlled manner, and without applying magnetic fields, the researchers were able to watch the electron spins rotate (or precess) as they flow through the crystal.

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