Semiconductors with electric and magnetic properties

Oct 17, 2012

European scientists developed solid-state semiconductor components with magnetic properties, a prerequisite for a new generation of electronic devices exploiting both the charge and the spin of electrons.

Conventional electronics are based on the flow of electrons, negative . Magnetic systems rely on principles governing electron spin, a quantum related to .

The angular momentum associated with spin produces a magnetic field. In most materials, magnetic fields of individual atoms cancel one another. In magnetic materials of various types, generally metals, atomic dipole moments become aligned (polarised) producing macroscopic magnetic fields.

Magnetic storage devices are based on the use of different patterns of magnetisation corresponding to information in stored data. With the advent of nanotechnology and the interest in building functional systems on the scale of atoms and molecules, a new field known as has emerged.

Spintronics, short for spin electronics and also known as magnetoelectronics, exploits electron spin in addition to charge. It uses them together to lay down and read back bits of data on semiconductor (solid-state) material and could provide the foundation for entirely new computational paradigms.

One of the most direct methods of introducing spin-polarised electrons into a semiconductor is by adding metal 'dopants' (impurities that modify the semiconductor's properties) to produce co-called dilute (DMS).

European scientists seeking to develop a suitable electro-deposition process to synthesise DMS nanowire structures and semiconductor junctions initiated the 'Doped magnetic ZnO p-n junction heterostructures for nano-spintronic devices' (MAJIC-SPIN) project.

The consortium successfully produced doped nanowires via a direct electro-deposition technique. They then studied their compositions, structures and magnetic properties via a variety of advanced experimental techniques including X-ray absorption-based methods and a superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID).

In the case of cobalt (Co)-doped nanowires, scientists demonstrated full incorporation of Co into the lattice and the presence of a magnetically ordered phase.

Explore further: Renesas announces SRAM using leading-edge 16 nm FinFET for automotive information systems

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A new probe for spintronics

Sep 12, 2012

The spin Hall effect (SHE) enables us to create spin current in  non-magnetic materials without using ferromagnetic materials. It is a crucial element in the central idea behind spintronics, that of manipulating ...

Combining opposing properties for synergistic function

Jun 27, 2012

The properties of nanomaterials often differ in novel ways from those of the bulk material of the same substances. European researchers investigated a completely new class of such materials that could be important ...

Spin-polarized electrons on demand

Jan 21, 2009

Many hopes are pinned on spintronics. In the future it could replace electronics, which in the race to produce increasingly rapid computer components, must at sometime reach its limits. Different from electronics, where whole ...

Spin-polarized electrons on demand

Jan 15, 2009

Many hopes are pinned on spintronics. In the future it could replace electronics, which in the race to produce increasingly rapid computer components, must at sometime reach its limits. Different from electronics, where whole ...

Recommended for you

Why the Sony hack isn't big news in Japan

7 hours ago

Japan's biggest newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun, featured a story about Sony Corp. on its website Friday. It wasn't about hacking. It was about the company's struggling tablet business.

Off-world manufacturing is a go with space printer

11 hours ago

On Friday, the BBC reported on a NASA email exchange with a space station which involved astronauts on the International Space Station using their 3-D printer to make a wrench from instructions sent up in ...

Cadillac CT6 will get streaming video mirror

12 hours ago

Cadillac said Thursday it will add high resolution streaming video to the function of a rearview mirror, so that the driver's vision and safety can be enhanced. The technology will debut on the 2016 Cadillac ...

Sony faces 4th ex-employee lawsuit over hack

12 hours ago

A former director of technology for Sony Pictures Entertainment has sued the company over the data breach that resulted in the online posting of his private financial and personal information.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.