Future of electronics spun on its heels?

Aug 16, 2005

New manifestations of Einstein’s theory of special relativity may have practical industrial applications

Electron spins controlled by beams of light could pave the way for the next generation of electronic circuitry powered by magnetic properties of charges, says University of Toronto research.

A paper published in the July issue of Physical Review Letters shows how U of T researchers propose a new technique using lasers to harness the quantum mechanical attribute – spin – of particles in solids. The research solves a key obstacle to the new field of spin-based electronics or “spintronics:” how to control the spin of electrons in an energy-efficient way. “Spins of particles interact with magnetic fields like tiny bar magnets,” says Ali Najmaie, the study’s lead author and a graduate student in physics. “The challenge is to produce spin currents by aligning and sorting the motion of electrons according to their spins.”

Najmaie and co-authors, research associate Eugene Sherman and Professor John Sipe, say that a kind of light scattering –where a beam of light interacts with matter and its colour is changed– can be used to sort electrons according to their spins. The technique incorporates elements from Einstein’s theory of special relativity, quantum mechanics and symmetries of nature. “After 100 years, we’re still learning new consequences and manifestations of Einstein’s theory of special relativity,” Sherman says. Someday, cell phones and hard drives may use the spin of electrons in solids and electronics may be replaced with spintronics.

The research was funded by the Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Source: University of Toronto

Explore further: Missing link in metal physics explains Earth's magnetic field

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New pathway to valleytronics

Jan 27, 2015

A potential avenue to quantum computing currently generating quite the buzz in the high-tech industry is "valleytronics," in which information is coded based on the wavelike motion of electrons moving through ...

Applause triggers award for Meccanoid robot in Vegas

Jan 12, 2015

The open source robotic building platform, Meccanoid G15 KS from Spin Master, won top prize in a "Last Gadget Standing" showdown at CES on Thursday. Damon Poeter of PCMag described The Meccanoid G15 KS as ...

Recommended for you

Building the next generation of efficient computers

1 hour ago

UConn researcher Bryan Huey has uncovered new information about the kinetic properties of multiferroic materials that could be a key breakthrough for scientists looking to create a new generation of low-energy, ...

Quantum computer as detector shows space is not squeezed

18 hours ago

Ever since Einstein proposed his special theory of relativity in 1905, physics and cosmology have been based on the assumption that space looks the same in all directions - that it's not squeezed in one direction ...

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.