Spintronics in few words

I am very sure that many of you know what does “electronics” mean or at least you heard this word time to time. But how about “spintronics”? Does it sound familiar? if the answer is “No” then you may want to continue reading this post. As you may know electronics is simply science of studying moving electrons for transferring energy and data. Now if we replace “electrons” by “spins” in this definition, we can simply explain the spintronics as the idea of transferring energy/data by spins. The main advantage of using spins instead of electrons is that current electric devices can be replaced by systems which are much faster, smaller and less energy consuming. In physics, spin is the intrinsic angular momentum of an electron which has a quantum number of 1/2 but for sake of simplicity lets define the spin as the rotating of an electron around its own axis. Now consider a set of electrons locating close to each other in a line, if an external torque (e.g. an external magnetic field) is applied to the first electron the electron will be excited and the spin starts to precess (rotate) around itself. In other words the spin of the electron will be slightly tilted. Such a movement in turn, is coupled to the spin of the next electron and tilts its spin. This effect can be used to transfer energy or data from point A to B. As today electronic devices are very close to their boundary of maximum efficiency and minimum size, spintonics can be considered as a revolutionary progress in this area.


Switching of magnetization with Light. (Image from:  SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory via Flickr Creative Commons )


Categories: Advanced Topics, Articles

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