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MATERIALS WORLD January 200830 lectrical engineering is built on the understanding

Summary: MATERIALS WORLD January 200830
lectrical engineering is built on the understanding
that electrons have two fundamental properties,
mass and electric charge. However, physicists
have known for over 80 years that electrons also have
an intrinsic magnetic moment, which for historical
reasons is called `spin'. The use of electron spin to
control charge transport is known as Spintronics. This
field has made a major impact on daily life by driving
increases in hard drive information storage density over
the last decade (resulting in the 2007 Nobel Physics
prize going to Albert Fert and Peter Grünberg for the
discovery of giant magnetoresistance). However, the
discipline has not yet influenced traditional information
processing, where circuits of silicon transistors dominate.
Time for change
Transistor scaling laws are approaching their physical
limits meaning a new paradigm must take over. Spin
can encode information in its `up' or `down' orientation,


Source: Appelbaum, Ian - Department of Physics, University of Maryland at College Park


Collections: Engineering; Materials Science