Electronics of the future: A new energy-efficient mechanism using the Rashba effect

December 28, 2018, Tokyo Institute of Technology
First-principles prediction of one-dimensional giant Rashba splittings. Credit: Yoshihiro Goda and Tokyo Institute of Technology

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology proposed new quasi-1-D materials for potential spintronic applications, an upcoming technology that exploits the spin of electrons. They performed simulations to demonstrate the spin properties of these materials and explained the mechanisms behind their behavior.

Conventional electronics is based on the movement of electrons and mainly concerns their . However, modern electronics are close to reaching the physical limits for continuing improvements. But electrons bear another intrinsic quantum-physical property called "spin," which can be interpreted as a type of angular momentum and can be either "up" or "down." While conventional electronic devices do not relate to electron spin, spintronics is a field in which the spin of the conducting electrons is crucial. Serious improvements in performance and new applications can be attained through spin currents.

Researchers are still trying to find convenient ways of generating spin currents via material structures that possess electrons with desirable spin properties. The Rashba-Bychkov effect (or simply Rashba effect), which involves breaking the symmetry of spin-up and spin-down electrons, could potentially be exploited for this purpose. Associate Professor Yoshihiro Gohda from Tokyo Institute of Technology and his colleague have proposed a new mechanism to generate a spin current without from a series of simulations for new bismuth-adsorbed indium-based quasi-1-D that exhibit a giant Rashba effect. "Our mechanism is suitable for applications, having the advantage that it does not require an to generate nondissipative spin current," explains Gohda. This advantage would simplify potential spintronic devices and would allow for further miniaturization.

The researchers conducted simulations based on these materials to demonstrate that their Rashba effect can be large and only requires applying a certain voltage to generate . By comparing the Rashba properties of multiple variations of these materials, they provided explanations for the observed differences in the materials' spin properties and a guide for further materials exploration.

This type of research is very important as radically new technologies are required if we intend to further improve electronic devices and go beyond their current physical limits. "Our study should be important for energy-efficient spintronic applications and stimulating further exploration of different 1-D Rashba systems," concludes Gohda. From faster memories to quantum computers, the benefits of better understanding and exploiting Rashba systems will certainly have enormous implications.

Explore further: Researchers ID promising key to performance of next-gen electronics

More information: Tomonori Tanaka et al, First-principles prediction of one-dimensional giant Rashba splittings in Bi-adsorbed In atomic chains, Physical Review B (2018). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.98.241409

Related Stories

Some superconductors can also carry currents of 'spin'

April 16, 2018

Researchers have shown that certain superconductors—materials that carry electrical current with zero resistance at very low temperatures—can also carry currents of 'spin'. The successful combination of superconductivity ...

One-way roads for spin currents

May 23, 2018

Spin is a type of angular momentum intrinsic to particles, roughly speaking as if they were spinning on themselves. Particles can exchange their spin, and in this way spin currents can be formed in a material. Through years ...

Recommended for you

Physicists discover new class of pentaquarks

March 26, 2019

Tomasz Skwarnicki, professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University, has uncovered new information about a class of particles called pentaquarks. His findings could lead to a new understanding ...

Coffee-based colloids for direct solar absorption

March 22, 2019

Solar energy is one of the most promising resources to help reduce fossil fuel consumption and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to power a sustainable future. Devices presently in use to convert solar energy into thermal ...

Physicists reveal why matter dominates universe

March 21, 2019

Physicists in the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University have confirmed that matter and antimatter decay differently for elementary particles containing charmed quarks.


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.