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2015 – A Good Year for Spintronics Research

by Kathy Chambers on Tue, January 19, 2016

The flow of a magnetic property of electrons known as spin current from a magnetic material (blue), to a nonmagnetic material (red). Image courtesy SLAC National Accelerator LaboratoryThe flow of a magnetic property of electrons known as spin current from a magnetic material (blue), to a nonmagnetic material (red). Image courtesy SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Department of Energy (DOE) researchers and their collaborators continued to make significant progress throughout 2015 in the emerging field of spintronics, also known as magnetic electronics.  Spintronics could change conventional electronics by using the spin of electrons to store information in solid state devices rather than, or in addition to, the transport of the electrical charge of electrons.  This new technology addresses many of the challenges of conventional electronics because it allows for transfer of information from one place to another using much less energy, essentially generating no heat, and requiring little space.  The field of spintronics is rapidly advancing and opportunities at the frontiers of spintronics are immense.

Many discoveries made by DOE researchers in 2015 have had critical implications in the field of spintronics.  For example, Argonne National Laboratory's postdoctoral researcher Stephen M. Wu made the significant and unexpectedly discovery that magnetic material may not be required in order to generate spin current from insulators.  His finding challenges current theories on how to generate a current of spins and presents possibilities for further discovery.  Researchers at DOE's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have for the first time seen a spin current – an inherent magnetic property common to all electrons – as it travels across materials.  This work could prove useful in guiding the selection of materials to improve spintronics performance.  DOE-affiliated scholarly published articles about spintronics and other important DOE research will be now be freely available to the public in the new Department of Energy Public Access Gateway for Energy and ScienceBeta (DOE PAGESBeta) after an administrative interval.    

A significant influx of DOE reports and papers on spintronics research endeavors published in 2015 were submitted to OSTI for inclusion in DOE Databases.  DOE's SciTech Connect database provides 74 research papers for this time period and more than 500 papers since the spintronic technology emerged.  Additionally, Dr. William Watson provides a layman's overview of this emerging technology in his latest white paper In the OSTI Collections – Spintronics.  Visit the OSTI Catalogue of Collections to search for additional DOE science information.   

Other Related Topics: OSTIblog
Page last updated on 2017-03-14 08:15

About the Author

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Kathy Chambers
Technical Writer, Information International Associates, Inc.