Electron Spins Collected for Greater Coherence
Modern electronics rely on the charge of electrons to operate, which means electronic signals require a voltage to be sent and stored. Spintronics on the other hand, operate using the spin of electrons, which is an intrinsic property and those is not so reliant on energy, but comes with its own set of problems. Researchers at the University of York and other institutions have recently found a clever way to overcome one of these challenges by collecting electrons together.
Semiconductors are at the heart of computing and unfortunately in their heart are spin-orbit fields, which interfere with spintronic signals. These signals rely on the spins of the electrons being specifically in one direction or another, but the fields can cause the spins to behave chaotically, thereby destroying what information they carry. What the researchers have done is placed the electrons within quantum wells, where they may excite specific spins to the electrons all at once. This collective excitation led to the electrons taking on a collective, macroscopic spin state, and because all of the electrons shared the state, they are less susceptible to the interference of the spin-orbit fields.
This discovery could have a profound effect on research into spintronics by strengthening spintronic signals. The researchers also repeated their experiments with different setups and discovered that it appears the quantum nature of macroscopic spin is universal, which should have some interesting impacts on future research into spintronics.
Source: University of York