Spin-charge converters are important devices in spintronics, an electronic which is not only based on the charge of electrons but also on their spin and the spin-related magnetism. Spin-charge converters enable the transformation of electric into magnetic signals and vice versa. Recently, the research group of Professor Jairo Sinova from the Institute of Physics at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in collaboration with researchers from the UK, Prague, and Japan, has for the first time realised a new, efficient spin-charge converter based on the common semiconductor material GaAs.
Comparable efficiencies had so far only been observed in platinum, a heavy metal. In addition, the physicists demonstrated that the creation or detection efficiency of spin currents is electrically tunable in a certain regime. This is important when it comes to real devices. The underlying mechanism, that was revealed by theoretical works of the Sinova group, opens up a new approach in searching and engineering spintronic materials. These results have recently been published in the journal Nature Materials.
Spintronics does not only make use of the electron's charge to transmit and store information but it takes also advantage of the electron's spin. The spin can be regarded as a rotation of the electron around its own axis, and generates a magnetic field like a small magnet. In some materials, electron spins spontaneously align their direction, leading to the phenomenon of ferromagnetism which is well known e.g. in iron. Additionally, spin-up" or spin-down" directions can be used to represent two easily distinguishable states 0 and 1 used in information technology. This is already used for memory applications such as computer hard discs.
Making use of electron spin for information transmission and storage, enables the development of electronic devices with new functionalities and higher efficiency. To make real use of the electron spin, it has to
|Contact: Jairo Sinova|
Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz