Nav: Home

Spintronics: Controlling magnetic spin with electric fields

June 19, 2018

Spintronics is a field of physics that studies the spin of electrons, an intrinsic type of magnetism that many elementary particles have. The field of spintronics has given rise to technological concepts of "spintronic devices", which would run on electron spins, rather than their charge, used by traditional electronics.

In order to build programmable spintronic devices we first need to be able to manipulate spins in certain materials. So far, this has been done with magnetic fields, which are not easy to integrate into everyday applications.

In a new set of experiments, an international team of physicists led by Hugo Dil at EPFL have now demonstrated the ability to control what they call "the spin landscape" using electric fields. They accomplished this in a new class of materials based on germanium telluride (GeTe), which is the simplest ferroelectric material operating at room temperature.

The scientists used a technique called spin- and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (SARPES), which can measure the spin of electrons, and has been perfected by Dil's lab. By combining SARPES with the possibility to apply an electric field, the physicists demonstrate electrostatic spin manipulation in ferroelectric α-GeTe and multiferroic (GeMn)Te.

In addition, the scientists were able to follow the spins' switching pathway in detail. In (GeMn)Te, the perpendicular spin component switches due to electric-field-induced magnetization reversal. This provides firm evidence of magneto-electric coupling, which opens up the possibility of programmable semiconductor based spintronics.

"Our previous work showed that magnetic fields can control spins in these materials," says Dil. "And now we've shown that spin manipulation is also possible using electric fields. Our experimental findings open up a promising path to only use electric fields in a spintronics device, strongly reducing the energy consumption."
-end-
Reference

J. Krempasky, S. Muff, J. Minár, N. Pilet, M. Fanciulli, A.P. Weber, E.B. Guedes, M. Caputo, E. Mueller, V.V. Volobuiev, M. Gmitra, C. A. F. Vaz, V. Scagnoli, G. Springholz, J. H. Dil. Operando imaging of all-electric spin texture manipulation in ferroelectric and multiferroic Rashba semiconductors. Phys. Rev. X 8, 021067. 18 June 2018. DOI:10.1103/PhysRevX.8.021067

Other contributors

Paul Scherrer Institut
New Technologies-Research Center University of West Bohemia
Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute
University of Regensburg
Pavol Jozef & Šafárik University
ETH Zurich
Johannes Kepler Universität

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Related Magnetic Fields Articles:

New metrology technique measures electric fields
It is crucial that mobile phones and other wireless devices -- so prevalent today -- have accurate and traceable measurements for electric fields and radiated power.
First direct exploration of magnetic fields in the upper solar atmosphere
Scientists have explored the magnetic field in upper solar atmosphere by observing the polarization of ultraviolet light with the CLASP sounding rocket experiment during its 5-minute flight in space on Sept.
New method can model chemistry in extreme magnetic fields of white dwarfs
Approximately 10-20 percent of white dwarfs exhibit strong magnetic fields, which can reach up to 100,000 tesla.
Researchers control soft robots using magnetic fields
Engineering researchers have made a fundamental advance in controlling so-called soft robots, using magnetic fields to remotely manipulate microparticle chains embedded in soft robotic devices.
Steering towards grazing fields
It makes sense that a 1,200 pound Angus cow would place quite a lot of pressure on the ground on which it walks.
Researchers propose technique for measuring weak or nonexistent magnetic fields
Researchers at the University of Iowa have proposed a new approach to sampling materials with weak or no magnetic fields.
Magnetic fields at the crossroads
Almost all information that exists in contemporary society is recorded in magnetic media, like hard drive disks.
Researchers coax particles to form vortices using magnetic fields
Researchers at Argonne created tiny swirling vortices out of magnetic particles, providing insight into the behavior that governs such systems -- which opens up new opportunities for materials and devices with new properties.
Earth's magnetic fields could track ocean heat, NASA study proposes
As Earth warms, much of the extra heat is stored in the planet's ocean.
Simulations by PPPL physicists suggest that magnetic fields can calm plasma instabilities
PPPL physicists have conducted simulations that suggest that applying magnetic fields to fusion plasmas can control instabilities known as Alfvén waves that can reduce the efficiency of fusion reactions.

Related Magnetic Fields Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Jumpstarting Creativity
Our greatest breakthroughs and triumphs have one thing in common: creativity. But how do you ignite it? And how do you rekindle it? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas on jumpstarting creativity. Guests include economist Tim Harford, producer Helen Marriage, artificial intelligence researcher Steve Engels, and behavioral scientist Marily Oppezzo.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#524 The Human Network
What does a network of humans look like and how does it work? How does information spread? How do decisions and opinions spread? What gets distorted as it moves through the network and why? This week we dig into the ins and outs of human networks with Matthew Jackson, Professor of Economics at Stanford University and author of the book "The Human Network: How Your Social Position Determines Your Power, Beliefs, and Behaviours".