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: Lightweight membrane can significantly reduce in-flight aircraft noise

Related Stories

Ultrafast tracking of electron spins

22 hours ago

Our present digital information processing and storage is based on two properties of the electron. The first is its charge, which is used in electronic circuits to process information. The second is its spin, ...

Electrons move like light in three-dimensional solid

1 hour ago

Electrons were observed to travel in a solid at an unusually high velocity, which remained the same independent of the electron energy. This anomalous light-like behavior is found in special two-dimensional ...

Electron trapping harnessed to make light sensors

21 hours ago

Traps. Whether you're squaring off against the Empire or trying to wring electricity out of sunlight, they're almost never a good thing. But sometimes you can turn that trap to your advantage. A team from ...

Boron-based atomic clusters mimic rare-earth metals

Apr 17, 2015

Rare Earth elements, found in the f-block of the periodic table, have particular magnetic and optical properties that make them valuable commodities. This has been particularly true over the last thirty years ...

Recommended for you

Thinner capsules yield faster implosions

6 hours ago

In National Ignition Facility (NIF) inertial confinement fusion (ICF) experiments, the fusion fuel implodes at a high speed in reaction to the rapid ablation, or blow-off, of the outer layers of the target ...

Bendable glass devices

8 hours ago

A special class of glass materials known as chalcogenide glasses holds promise for speeding integration of photonic and electronic devices with functions as diverse as data transfer and chemical sensing. ...

Direct visualization of magnetoelectric domains

8 hours ago

A novel microscopy technique called magnetoelectric force microscopy (MeFM) was developed to detect the local cross-coupling between magnetic and electric dipoles. Combined experimental observation and theoretical ...

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.