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A new, tunable device for spintronics
Date:8/28/2014

be manipulated precisely: it has to be aligned, transmitted and detected. The work of Sinova and his colleagues shows, that it is possible to do so using electric fields rather than magnetic ones. Thus, the very efficient, simple and precise mechanisms of charge manipulation well established in semiconductor electronics can be transferred to the world of spintronic and thereby combine semiconductor physics with magnetism.

Spin-charge converters are essential tools for that. They can transform charge currents into spin currents, and vice versa. The main principle behind these converters is the so called spin-Hall effect. Jairo Sinova had already been involved in the prediction and discovery of this relativistic phenomenon in 2004.

The spin-Hall effect appears when an electric field drives electrons through a (semi-) conductor plate. Taking a look at the classical Hall effect that is known from undergraduate physics, the interaction of moving electrons and an external magnetic field forces the electrons to move to one side of the plate, perpendicular to their original direction. This leads to the so called Hall voltage between both sides of the plate. For the spin-Hall effect electron-spins are generated by irradiating the sample with circularly polarised light. The electron spins are then parallel or antiparallel, and their direction is perpendicular to the plate and the direction of movement. The moving electron spins are now forced to one or the other side of the plate, depending on the spin orientation. The driving force behind this is the so called spin-orbit coupling, a relativistic electromagnetic effect which influences moving electron spins. This leads to the separation of both spin orientations.

To make practical use of this effect, it is essential to get a highly efficient spin separation. Up to now, platinum has been the most efficient spin-charge converter material, as it is a heavy metal, and the spin-orbit coupling of heavy
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Contact: Jairo Sinova
sinova@uni-mainz.de
49-613-139-21284
Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz
Source:Eurekalert

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