Scientists supported by EU funding, have created a graphene-based device where electron spins can be injected and detected, with unprecedented efficiency and at room temperature. This opens up possibilities for the realisation of applications which use spin based logic and transistors.
The research published in Nature Communications, outlines how the electron spins were achieved from the interplay between the blilayer of graphene and boron nitride, used in the device. The result is the increase of the spin signal a hundredfold, which renders it large enough to be used in real life applications.
Spin injection and detection
‘Spin’ is a term used to describe the magnetic property of electrons, which can be detected as a magnetic field with either up and down orientations. The science of spintronics seeks to exploit this phenomenon, with one of the most common applications being for the storage, transportation and manipulation of information. Yet exploiting electron spin in a device requires control over the ratio of electrons with a spin up or down, known as spin polarisation. However, this has been notoriously difficult to achieve, with the ratio of ups and downs remaining small.
The research presented in the paper and drawing on work from the EU-funded GRAPHENECORE1 project (itself part of the EU’s 10 year, Graphene Flagship started in 2013), is based on ongoing investigation into spin behaviour in different materials. As the research lead Professor Bart van Wees of University of Groningen says, ‘Spin polarisation can be achieved by sending the electrons through a ferromagnetic material.’ This creates an excess of one type of spin. The study looked specifically at spin injection – getting electrons with polarized spins into a device – and detection.
The full story is available below.