London, Aug 25 (ANI): University of Kansas researchers have discovered a new way to recognize currents of spinning electrons within a semiconductor, which could lead the way to development of superior computers and electronics.
Hui Zhao and graduate student Lalani Werake researched spin-based electronics, dubbed "spintronics."
"The goal is to replace everything - from computers to memory devices - to have higher performance and less energy consumption," said Zhao.
Instead of using the presence or absence of electronic charges, spintronics relies on the direction of an electron's rotation to convey data.
"The difference is that a baseball can spin at any speed, but an electron can only spin at a certain speed - either counterclockwise or clockwise. Therefore, we can use one spin state to represent 'zero' and another to represent 'one.' Because a single electron can carry this information, this takes much less time and much less energy," he said.
The pair has also been able to monitor the velocity of the spinning electrons. They found that shining a laser beam on a piece of semiconductor generates different colour lights if the spinning electrons are flowing, and the brightness of the new light is related to the strength of the spin current.
The optical effect, known as "second-harmonic generation" is similar to a police officer's radar gun, which tracks a car's speed as it passes, Zhao said.
"As spintronics become industrialized, we expect this could become a routine technique to check the quality of devices, for example," he said.
The results will be published in the September issue of Nature Physics. (ANI)