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UC Riverside physicists pave the way for graphene-based spin computer
Date:10/14/2010

r," in between the ferromagnetic electrode and the graphene layer. They found that the spin injection efficiency increased dramatically.

"We found a 30-fold increase in the efficiency of how spins were being injected by quantum tunneling across the insulator and into graphene," Kawakami said. "Equally interesting is that the insulator was operating like a one-way valve, allowing electron flow in one direction from the electrode to graphene but not the other. The insulator helps to keep the injected spin inside the graphene, which is what leads to high spin injection efficiency. This counterintuitive result is the first demonstration of tunneling spin injection into graphene. We now have world record values for spin injection efficiency into graphene."

Study results appear this week in Physical Review Letters.

In their experiments, the Kawakami lab also made an unexpected discovery that explains short spin lifetimes of electrons in graphene that have been reported by other experimental researchers.

Kawakami explained that spin lifetimes are typically investigated through an experiment, known as a Hanle measurement, which uses a ferromagnetic spin detector to monitor the electron spins in graphene as they change direction in an external magnetic field. When his team placed a tunnel barrier in between the ferromagnetic spin detector and the graphene, the spin lifetime from the Hanle measurement jumped up to about 500 picoseconds (compared to typical values of 100 picoseconds) even though the researchers did nothing different to the graphene itself.

"People usually assume that the Hanle measurement accurately measures the spin lifetime, but this result shows that it severely underestimates the spin lifetime when the ferromagnet is touching the graphene," said Wei Han, the first author of the research paper and a graduate student in Kawakami's lab. "This is good news because it m
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Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California -- Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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