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'spintronics' Breakthrough Holds Promise For Next-Generation Computers

By The ­niversity of Kansas

August 25, 2010

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University of Kansas (KU) researchers have discovered a way to recognize currents of spinning electrons, or spintronics, within a semiconductor using powerful lasers, which could lead to the development of advanced computers and electronics. "The goal is to replace everything — from computers to memory devices — to have higher performance and less energy consumption," says KU professor Hui Zhao.

Spintronics relies on the direction of an electron's rotation to convey data, instead of using the presence or absence of electronic charges. The KU researchers have found that shining a laser beam on a piece of semiconductor creates different color lights if the spinning electrons are flowing, and the brightness of the new light is correlated to the strength of the spin current.

"Spintronics is still in the research phase, and we hope that this new technology can be used in labs to look at problems that interest researchers," Zhao says.

From The University of Kansas
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