Some excellent news via EE Times on the further improvement in using electron spin for encoding information at lower power and heat than traditional electronics which use current, or the movement of electrons. Spintronics are already in use on some consumer devices, mostly hard drives. By implication I’d say the materials involved are ferrous so limited in how far they can be integrated into predominantly silicon based electronic circuitry.
A research team from the University of Twente (Enschede, The Netherlands) are claiming they can control a silicon electron’s spin at room temperature. The researchers have published a paper to that effect in the edition of Nature published Thursday (Nov. 26).
The breakthrough hinges on the addition of an oxide layer between the magnetic material and the semiconductor substrate. Next steps will focus on building actual components now that the essential effect has been provably demonstrated.
The thickness and quality of this layer are crucial. The information is transferred by applying an electric current across the oxide interface, thereby introducing a magnetization in the semiconductor, with a controllable magnitude and orientation. The researchers found that the spin information can propagate into the silicon to a depth of several hundred nanometers. This is sufficient for the operation of nanoscale spintronic compone