April 7, 2009

Electron spin control: A physics triumph

U.S. researchers say they have made a breakthrough in applied physics by controlling the spin of electrons at room temperature.

North Carolina State University scientists said they have developed a magnetic semiconductor memory device, using certain thin films that utilize both the charge and spin of electrons at room temperature.

The scientists said their achievement is a triumph in physics research, since previous devices that used magnetic semiconductors and controlled electron spin were only functional at minus 281 degrees Fahrenheit. By controlling the spin of electrons, the scientists said their new device represents a significant advance in semiconductor efficiency and speed.

The research that included Professors S.M. Bedair and Nadia El-Masry, Adjunct Professor J.M. Zavada, post-doctoral research fellow N. Nepal and graduate students Oliver Luen and P. Frajtag appears in the April 2 issue of the journal Applied Physics Letters.