In a rapid follow-up to their achievement as the first to demonstrate how an electron's spin can be electrically injected, controlled and detected in silicon, electrical engineers from the University of Delaware and Cambridge NanoTech now show that this quantum property can be transported a marathon distance in the world of microelectronics-- through an entire silicon wafer.
The finding confirms that silicon--the workhorse material of present-day electronics--now can be harnessed up for new-age spintronics applications.
The results, published in the Oct. 26 issue of the American Physical Society's prestigious journal Physical Review Letters, mark another major steppingstone in the pioneering field of spintronics, which aims to use the intrinsic spin property of electrons versus solely their electrical charge for the cheaper, faster, lower-power processing and storage of data than present-day electronics can offer.
The research team included Ian Appelbaum, UD assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, and his doctoral student, Biqin Huang, and Douwe Monsma, of Cambridge NanoTech in Cambridge, Mass. Huang was the lead author of the article.
Our new result is significant because it means that silicon can now be used to perform many spin manipulations both within the space of thousands of devices and within the time of thousands of logic operations, paving the way for silicon-based spintronics circuits, Appelbaum said.
In Appelbaum's lab at UD, the team fabricated a device that injected high-energy, hot electrons from a ferromagnet into the silicon wafer. Another hot-electron structure (made by bonding two silicon wafers together with a thin-film ferromagnet) detected the electrons on the other side.
Electron spin has a direction, like 'up' or 'down,' Appelbaum said. In silicon, there are normally equal numbers of spin-up and -down electrons. The goal of spintronics is to use curr
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University of Delaware