Studying Spin in GrapheneCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: August 17, 2012 03:51AM
Graphene is a wonderful material that many want to see used in electronics, but its lack of a band gap that would make it a semiconductor, may prevent it from ever seeing such a use. However it could be a material of choice for spintronics, a potential replacement to electronics that is still in development. Before that can happen though, researchers have to better understand the spin behavior of electrons within graphene, which is what researchers at Georgia State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology have recently studied.
When you shine microwaves of the correct energy onto a spintronic device, its resistance will change, but normally by such a small amount you cannot detect it. This is not the case with graphene however, which allowed the researchers to make direct measurements of the electrons' spin properties. These properties include the spin splitting energy and spin relaxation time, but there are others as well which had to be made more indirectly.
This is the kind of research which may bring this allotrope of carbon and spintronics to commercial devices. Of course more research has to be done before that can happen, but this is an important step towards that end.