Researchers Create Improved Magnetic-Semiconductor Sandwich

Oct 02, 2006

Researchers at Ohio University have created an improved magnetic semiconductor that solves a problem spintronics scientists have been investigating for years.

Unlike classic or vintage electronics that operate on electronic charges, spin-based electronics focuses on the spin of electrons to carry and store information. Researchers predict spintronics will revolutionize the electronics industry by making devices faster, improving storage capacity and reducing the amount of power needed to run them.

Spintronics technology has not been widely applied yet, however, because scientists have had difficulty controlling, manipulating and measuring the electrons.

In a paper published online today in Physical Review Letters, a team of Ohio University and Ohio State University scientists led by postdoctoral fellow Erdong Lu have created an effective interface between a semiconductor and ferromagnetic metal. The two-layer “sandwich” of gallium nitride (GaN) and manganese gallium (MnGa) nearly eliminates any intermixing of the two layers and allows the spin to be “tuned.”

“We found a way to grow the metal on the semiconductor. The crystalline match between the two materials was nearly perfect. The advantage of this finding is in the growth process. By adjusting the conditions of the growth, we can tune the spin,” said Arthur Smith, associate professor of physics and astronomy and director of Ohio University’s Nanoscale & Quantum Phenomena Institute.

Magnetization was controlled by monitoring a property of the growth called reconstruction. Through the monitoring process, researchers could predict the properties of the spin.

“It has to do with the ratio of manganese and gallium,” Smith said.

The researchers also found that this new magnetic-semiconductor bilayer will operate at room temperature. Other materials have only worked at very low temperatures, which makes them impractical for commercial applications.

Source: Ohio University

Explore further: Breakthrough in OLED technology

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

QR codes engineered into cybersecurity protection

Feb 27, 2015

QR, or Quick Response, codes – those commonly black and white boxes that people scan with a smartphone to learn more about something – have been used to convey information about everything from cereals ...

Conserving for nature's sake or our own?

Feb 20, 2015

The value of nature in conservation may seem simple, straightforward and fundamental. Yet a persistent question arises: Should we conserve nature only for humans or also for its own sake as well?

Recommended for you

Breakthrough in OLED technology

7 hours ago

Organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), which are made from carbon-containing materials, have the potential to revolutionize future display technologies, making low-power displays so thin they'll wrap or fold ...

Throwing light on a mysterious human 'superpower'

10 hours ago

Most people, at some point in their lives, have dreamt of being able to fly like Superman or develop superhuman strength like the Hulk. But very few know that we human beings have a "superpower" of our own, ...

New filter could advance terahertz data transmission

Feb 27, 2015

University of Utah engineers have discovered a new approach for designing filters capable of separating different frequencies in the terahertz spectrum, the next generation of communications bandwidth that ...

The super-resolution revolution

Feb 27, 2015

Cambridge scientists are part of a resolution revolution. Building powerful instruments that shatter the physical limits of optical microscopy, they are beginning to watch molecular processes as they happen, ...

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.