Spintronics success could pave way for lighter, more efficient TVs, mobiles

Posted By: Anita Nair
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London, Dec 9 (ANI): Researchers from Queen Mary, University of London (UK) and the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) have achieved a significant breakthrough in the field of spintronics.

The researchers have shown that a magnetically polarised current can be manipulated by electric fields.

The discovery opens up the prospect of simultaneously processing and storing data on electrons held in the molecular structure of computer chips - combining computer memory and processing power on the same chip.

"This is especially exciting, as this discovery has been made with flexible organic semiconductors, which are set to be the new generation of displays for mobile devices, TVs and computer monitors, and could offer a step-change in power efficiency and reduced weight of these devices," said Dr Alan Drew.

Spintronics uses the 'spin', of electrons to detect computer data stored in magnetic bits.

In contrast, computer processing relies on streams of electrically charged electrons flowing around a tiny circuit etched into a microchip.

Drew and his team have investigated how layers of Lithium Fluoride (LiF) can modify the spin of electrons transported through these spin valves.

"Using the direct spectroscopic technique Low Energy Muon Spin Rotation (LE-uSR), our experiments have visualised the extracted spin polarisation close to buried interfaces of a spin valve," said Professor Christian Bernhard, from the University of Fribourg Physics Department.

The method employs the magnetic properties of muons - unstable subatomic particles.

"In such an experiment the muons are shot into the material and when they decay, the decay products carry information about the magnetic processes inside the material," explained Professor Elvezio Morenzoni from PSI (Paul Scherrer Institute).

"The unique thing about low energy muons is that they can be placed specifically in a particular layer of a multi-layer system. Thus using this method one can study the magnetism in any single layer separately."

The study is published this week in the journal Nature Materials. (ANI)

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