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Spintronics - Wikipedia

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Spintronics (a portmanteau meaning spin transport electronics[1][2][3]), also known as spinelectronics or

fluxtronics, is the study of the intrinsic spin of the electron and its associated magnetic moment, in addition to
its fundamental electronic charge, in solid-state devices.
Spintronics differs from the older magnetoelectronics, in that spins are manipulated by both magnetic and
electrical fields.



Metal-based devices
Spintronic-logic devices
4.1 Applications
Semiconductor-based spintronic devices
5.1 Applications
5.2 Storage media
See also
Further reading
External links

Spintronics emerged from discoveries in the 1980s concerning spin-dependent electron transport phenomena in
solid-state devices. This includes the observation of spin-polarized electron injection from a ferromagnetic metal
to a normal metal by Johnson and Silsbee (1985)[4] and the discovery of giant magnetoresistance independently
by Albert Fert et al.[5] and Peter Grnberg et al. (1988).[6] The origins of spintronics can be traced to the
ferromagnet/superconductor tunneling experiments pioneered by Meservey and Tedrow and initial experiments
on magnetic tunnel junctions by Julliere in the 1970s.[7] The use of semiconductors for spintronics began with
the theoretical proposal of a spin field-effect-transistor by Datta and Das in 1990[8] and of the electric dipole
spin resonance by Rashba in 1960.[9]

The spin of the electron is an intrinsic angular momentum that is separate from the angular momentum due to its
orbital motion. The magnitude of the projection of the electron's spin along an arbitrary axis is
, implying that
the electron acts as a Fermion by the spin-statistics theorem. Like orbital angular momentum, the spin has an
associated magnetic moment, the magnitude of which is expressed as

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In a solid the spins of many electrons can act together to affect the magnetic and electronic properties of a
material, for example endowing it with a permanent magnetic moment as in a ferromagnet.
In many materials, electron spins are equally present in both the up and the down state, and no transport
properties are dependent on spin. A spintronic device requires generation or manipulation of a spin-polarized
population of electrons, resulting in an excess of spin up or spin down electrons. The polarization of any spin
dependent property X can be written as
A net spin polarization can be achieved either through creating an equilibrium energy split between spin up and
spin down. Methods include putting a material in a large magnetic field (Zeeman effect), the exchange energy
present in a ferromagnet or forcing the system out of equilibrium. The period of time that such a non-equilibrium
population can be maintained is known as the spin lifetime, .
In a diffusive conductor, a spin diffusion length can be defined as the distance over which a non-equilibrium
spin population can propagate. Spin lifetimes of conduction electrons in metals are relatively short (typically less
than 1 nanosecond). An important research area is devoted to extending this lifetime to technologically relevant
The mechanisms of decay for a spin polarized population can be broadly
classified as spin-flip scattering and spin dephasing. Spin-flip scattering
is a process inside a solid that does not conserve spin, and can therefore
switch an incoming spin up state into an outgoing spin down state. Spin
dephasing is the process wherein a population of electrons with a
common spin state becomes less polarized over time due to different
rates of electron spin precession. In confined structures, spin dephasing
can be suppressed, leading to spin lifetimes of milliseconds in
semiconductor quantum dots at low temperatures.
Superconductors can enhance central effects in spintronics such as
magnetoresistance effects, spin lifetimes and dissipationless

Metal-based devices

A plot showing a spin up, spin down,

and the resulting spin polarized
population of electrons. Inside a spin
injector, the polarization is constant,
while outside the injector, the
polarization decays exponentially to
zero as the spin up and down
populations go to equilibrium.

The simplest method of generating a spin-polarised current in a metal is

to pass the current through a ferromagnetic material. The most common
applications of this effect involve giant magnetoresistance (GMR) devices. A typical GMR device consists of at
least two layers of ferromagnetic materials separated by a spacer layer. When the two magnetization vectors of
the ferromagnetic layers are aligned, the electrical resistance will be lower (so a higher current flows at constant
voltage) than if the ferromagnetic layers are anti-aligned. This constitutes a magnetic field sensor.
Two variants of GMR have been applied in devices: (1) current-in-plane (CIP), where the electric current flows
parallel to the layers and (2) current-perpendicular-to-plane (CPP), where the electric current flows in a
direction perpendicular to the layers.

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Other metal-based spintronics devices:

Tunnel magnetoresistance (TMR), where CPP transport is achieved by using quantum-mechanical
tunneling of electrons through a thin insulator separating ferromagnetic layers.
Spin-transfer torque, where a current of spin-polarized electrons is used to control the magnetization
direction of ferromagnetic electrodes in the device.
Spin-wave logic devices carry information in the phase. Interference and spin-wave scattering can
perform logic operations.

Spintronic-logic devices
Non-volatile spin-logic devices to enable scaling are being extensively studied.[12] Spin-transfer, torque-based
logic devices that use spins and magnets for information processing have been proposed[13][14] These devices are
part of the ITRS exploratory road map. Logic-in memory applications are already in the development stage.

Read heads of hard drives are based on the GMR or TMR effect.
Motorola developed a first-generation 256 kb magnetoresistive random-access memory (MRAM) based on a
single magnetic tunnel junction and a single transistor that has a read/write cycle of under 50 nanoseconds. [17]
Everspin has since developed a 4 Mb version.[18] Two second-generation MRAM techniques are in
development: thermal-assisted switching (TAS)[19] and spin-transfer torque (STT).[20]
Another design, racetrack memory, encodes information in the direction of magnetization between domain walls
of a ferromagnetic wire.
Magnetic sensors can use the GMR effect.
In 2012 persistent spin helices of synchronized electrons were made to persist for more than a nanosecond, a
30-fold increase, longer than the duration of a modern processor clock cycle.[21]

Semiconductor-based spintronic devices

Doped semiconductor materials display dilute ferromagnetism. In recent years, dilute magnetic oxides (DMOs)
including ZnO based DMOs and TiO2-based DMOs have been the subject of numerous experimental and
computational investigations.[22][23] Non-oxide ferromagnetic semiconductor sources (like manganese-doped
gallium arsenide GaMnAs),[24] increase the interface resistance with a tunnel barrier,[25] or using hot-electron
Spin detection in semiconductors has been addressed with multiple techniques:
Faraday/Kerr rotation of transmitted/reflected photons[27]
Circular polarization analysis of electroluminescence[28]
Nonlocal spin valve (adapted from Johnson and Silsbee's work with metals)[29]
Ballistic spin filtering[30]

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The latter technique was used to overcome the lack of spin-orbit interaction and materials issues to achieve spin
transport in silicon.[31]
Because external magnetic fields (and stray fields from magnetic contacts) can cause large Hall effects and
magnetoresistance in semiconductors (which mimic spin-valve effects), the only conclusive evidence of spin
transport in semiconductors is demonstration of spin precession and dephasing in a magnetic field non-collinear
to the injected spin orientation, called the Hanle effect.

Applications using spin-polarized electrical injection have shown threshold current reduction and controllable
circularly polarized coherent light output.[32] Examples include semiconductor lasers. Future applications may
include a spin-based transistor having advantages over MOSFET devices such as steeper sub-threshold slope.
Magnetic-tunnel transistor: The magnetic-tunnel transistor with a single base layer[33] has the following
Emitter (FM1): Injects spin-polarized hot electrons into the base.
Base (FM2): Spin-dependent scattering takes place in the base. It also serves as a spin filter.
Collector (GaAs): A Schottky barrier is formed at the interface. It only collects electrons that have enough
energy to overcome the Schottky barrier, and when states are available in the semiconductor.
The magnetocurrent (MC) is given as:

And the transfer ratio (TR) is

MTT promises a highly spin-polarized electron source at room temperature.

Storage media
Antiferromagnetic storage media have been studied as an alternative to ferromagnetism,[34] especially since with
antiferromagnetic material the bits can be stored as well as with ferromagnetic material. Instead of the usual
definition 0 -> 'magnetisation upwards', 1 -> 'magnetisation downwards', the states can be, e.g., 0 -> 'verticallyalternating spin configuration' and 1 -> 'horizontally-alternating spin configuration'.[35]).
The main advantages of antiferromagnetic material are:
non-sensitivity against perturbations by stray fields;
far shorter switching times;
no effect on near particles.

See also

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Electric dipole spin resonance

Rashba effect
Spin pumping
Spin transfer
List of emerging technologies

1. Wolf, S. A.; Chtchelkanova, A. Y.; Treger, D. M. (2006). "SpintronicsA retrospective and perspective". IBM
Journal of Research and Development. 50: 101. doi:10.1147/rd.501.0101.
2. Physics Profile: "Stu Wolf: True D! Hollywood Story" (
3. Spintronics: A Spin-Based Electronics Vision for the Future (
/1488.short). (16 November 2001). Retrieved on 21 October 2013.
4. Johnson, M.; Silsbee, R. H. (1985). "Interfacial charge-spin coupling: Injection and detection of spin magnetization
in metals". Physical Review Letters. 55 (17): 17901793. Bibcode:1985PhRvL..55.1790J.
doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.55.1790. PMID 10031924.
5. Baibich, M. N.; Broto, J. M.; Fert, A.; Nguyen Van Dau, F. N.; Petroff, F.; Etienne, P.; Creuzet, G.; Friederich, A.;
Chazelas, J. (1988). "Giant Magnetoresistance of (001)Fe/(001)Cr Magnetic Superlattices". Physical Review
Letters. 61 (21): 24722475. Bibcode:1988PhRvL..61.2472B. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.61.2472. PMID 10039127.
6. Binasch, G.; Grnberg, P.; Saurenbach, F.; Zinn, W. (1989). "Enhanced magnetoresistance in layered magnetic
structures with antiferromagnetic interlayer exchange". Physical Review B. 39 (7): 4828.
Bibcode:1989PhRvB..39.4828B. doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.39.4828.
7. Julliere, M. (1975). "Tunneling between ferromagnetic films". Physics Letters A. 54 (3): 225201.
Bibcode:1975PhLA...54..225J. doi:10.1016/0375-9601(75)90174-7.
8. Datta, S. & Das, B. (1990). "Electronic analog of the electrooptic modulator". Applied Physics Letters. 56 (7):
665667. Bibcode:1990ApPhL..56..665D. doi:10.1063/1.102730.
9. E. I. Rashba, Cyclotron and combined resonances in a perpendicular field, Sov. Phys. Solid State 2, 1109 -1122
10. Linder, Jacob; Robinson, Jason W. A. (2 April 2015). "Superconducting spintronics". Nature Physics. 11 (4):
307315. arXiv:1510.00713 . Bibcode:2015NatPh..11..307L. doi:10.1038/nphys3242. ISSN 1745-2473.
11. M. Eschrig, "Spin-polarized supercurrents for spintronics" (
/physicstoday/article/64/1/10.1063/1.3541944) Physics Today 64(1), 43 (2011)
12. International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors
13. Behin-Aein, B.; Datta, D.; Salahuddin, S.; Datta, S. (2010). "Proposal for an all-spin logic device with built-in
memory". Nature Nanotechnology. 5 (4): 266270. Bibcode:2010NatNa...5..266B. doi:10.1038/nnano.2010.31.
PMID 20190748.
14. Manipatruni, Sasikanth; Nikonov, Dmitri E. and Young, Ian A. (2011) [1112.2746] Circuit Theory for SPICE of
Spintronic Integrated Circuits ( Retrieved on 21 October 2013.
15. Crocus Partners With Starchip To Develop System-On-Chip Solutions Based on Magnetic-Logic-Unit (MLU)
Technology ( 8 December 2011
16. Groundbreaking New Technology for Improving the Reliability of Spintronics Logic Integrated Circuits
( 11 June 2012.
17. Spintronics (
/spintronics.html). Sigma-Aldrich. Retrieved on 21 October 2013.
18. Everspin ( Archived (
// 30 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine.. Everspin. Retrieved on 21 October

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19. Hoberman, Barry. The Emergence of Practical MRAM (

20. LaPedus, Mark (18 June 2009) Tower invests in Crocus, tips MRAM foundry deal (
21. Walser, M.; Reichl, C.; Wegscheider, W. & Salis, G. (2012). "Direct mapping of the formation of a persistent spin
helix". Nature Physics. 8 (10): 757. Bibcode:2012NatPh...8..757W. doi:10.1038/nphys2383.
22. Assadi, M.H.N; Hanaor, D.A.H (2013). "Theoretical study on copper's energetics and magnetism in TiO2
polymorphs" (PDF). Journal of Applied Physics. 113 (23): 233913. arXiv:1304.1854 .
Bibcode:2013JAP...113w3913A. doi:10.1063/1.4811539.
23. Ogale, S.B (2010). "Dilute doping, defects, and ferromagnetism in metal oxide systems". Advanced Materials. 22
(29): 31253155. doi:10.1002/adma.200903891. PMID 20535732.
24. Jonker, B.; Park, Y.; Bennett, B.; Cheong, H.; Kioseoglou, G.; Petrou, A. (2000). "Robust electrical spin injection
into a semiconductor heterostructure". Physical Review B. 62 (12): 8180. Bibcode:2000PhRvB..62.8180J.
25. Hanbicki, A. T.; Jonker, B. T.; Itskos, G.; Kioseoglou, G.; Petrou, A. (2002). "Efficient electrical spin injection from
a magnetic metal/tunnel barrier contact into a semiconductor". Applied Physics Letters. 80 (7): 1240. arXiv:condmat/0110059 . Bibcode:2002ApPhL..80.1240H. doi:10.1063/1.1449530.
26. Jiang, X.; Wang, R.; Van Dijken, S.; Shelby, R.; MacFarlane, R.; Solomon, G.; Harris, J.; Parkin, S. (2003). "Optical
Detection of Hot-Electron Spin Injection into GaAs from a Magnetic Tunnel Transistor Source". Physical Review
Letters. 90 (25). Bibcode:2003PhRvL..90y6603J. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.90.256603.
27. Kikkawa, J.; Awschalom, D. (1998). "Resonant Spin Amplification in n-Type GaAs". Physical Review Letters. 80
(19): 4313. Bibcode:1998PhRvL..80.4313K. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.80.4313.
28. Jonker, Berend T. Polarized optical emission due to decay or recombination of spin-polarized injected carriers US
Patent 5874749 ( Archived (
/web/20091212102246/ 12 December 2009 at the Wayback
Machine.. Issued on 23 February 1999.
29. Lou, X.; Adelmann, C.; Crooker, S. A.; Garlid, E. S.; Zhang, J.; Reddy, K. S. M.; Flexner, S. D.; Palmstrm, C. J.;
Crowell, P. A. (2007). "Electrical detection of spin transport in lateral ferromagnetsemiconductor devices". Nature
Physics. 3 (3): 197. Bibcode:2007NatPh...3..197L. doi:10.1038/nphys543.
30. Appelbaum, I.; Huang, B.; Monsma, D. J. (2007). "Electronic measurement and control of spin transport in silicon".
Nature. 447 (7142): 295298. arXiv:cond-mat/0703025 . Bibcode:2007Natur.447..295A.
doi:10.1038/nature05803. PMID 17507978.
31. uti, I.; Fabian, J. (2007). "Spintronics: Silicon twists". Nature. 447 (7142): 268269.
Bibcode:2007Natur.447..268Z. doi:10.1038/447269a. PMID 17507969.
32. Holub, M.; Shin, J.; Saha, D.; Bhattacharya, P. (2007). "Electrical Spin Injection and Threshold Reduction in a
Semiconductor Laser". Physical Review Letters. 98 (14). Bibcode:2007PhRvL..98n6603H.
33. Van Dijken, S.; Jiang, X.; Parkin, S. S. P. (2002). "Room temperature operation of a high output current magnetic
tunnel transistor". Applied Physics Letters. 80 (18): 3364. Bibcode:2002ApPhL..80.3364V. doi:10.1063/1.1474610.
34. See, e.g.: Jungwirth, T., announcement of a colloqium talk at the physics faculty of a bavarian university, 28 April
2014: Relativistic Approaches to Spintronics with Antiferromagnets. [1] (
35. This corresponds mathematically to the transition from the rotation group SO(3) to its relativistic covering, the
"double group" SU(2)

Further reading
"Introduction to Spintronics". Marc Cahay, Supriyo Bandyopadhyay, CRC Press, ISBN 0-8493-3133-1
J. A. Gupta; R. Knobel; N. Samarth; D. D. Awschalom (29 June 2001). "Ultrafast Manipulation of
Electron Spin Coherence". Science. 292 (5526): 24582461. Bibcode:2001Sci...292.2458G.
doi:10.1126/science.1061169. PMID 11431559.
Wolf, S. A.; Awschalom, DD; Buhrman, RA; Daughton, JM; von Molnr, S; Roukes, ML; Chtchelkanova,
AY; Treger, DM (16 November 2001). "Spintronics: A Spin-Based Electronics Vision for the Future".

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Science. 294 (5546): 14881495. Bibcode:2001Sci...294.1488W. doi:10.1126/science.1065389.

PMID 11711666.
Sharma, P. (28 January 2005). "How to Create a Spin Current". Science. 307 (5709): 531533.
doi:10.1126/science.1099388. PMID 15681374.
Tomasz Dietl; David D. Awschalom; Maria Kaminska; et al., eds. (2009). Spintronics. Academic Press.
ISBN 9780080914213.
uti, I.; Das Sarma, S. (2004). "Spintronics: Fundamentals and applications". Reviews of Modern
Physics. 76 (2): 323. arXiv:cond-mat/0405528 . Bibcode:2004RvMP...76..323Z.
Parkin, Stuart; Ching-Ray, Chang; Chantrell, Roy, eds. (2011). "SPIN". World Scientific.
ISSN 2010-3247.
"Spintronics Steps Forward." (, University of South
Florida News
Bader, S. D.; Parkin, S. S. P. (2010). "Spintronics". Annual Review of Condensed Matter Physics. 1: 71.
Bibcode:2010ARCMP...1...71B. doi:10.1146/annurev-conmatphys-070909-104123.
Mukesh D. Patil; Jitendra S. Pingale; Umar I. Masumdar (2013). "Overview of Spintronics". ESRSA
Publications. ISSN 2278-0181.
Jitendra S. Pingale; Mukesh D. Patil; Umar I. Masumdar (2013). "Utilization of Spintronics".
ISSN 2250-3153.

External links
23 milestones in the history of spin compiled by Nature (
"Spintronics". Scientific American. June 2002.
Spintronics portal with news and resources (
RaceTrack:InformationWeek (April 11, 2008) (
Spintronics research targets (
/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=191504070) GaAs.
Spintronics Tutorial (
Lecture on Spin transport by S. Datta (from Datta Das transistor) -Part 1 (
/5269) and Part 2 (
Retrieved from ""
Categories: Emerging technologies Spintronics Theoretical computer science
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