Electron spin could be used to control electron current in a transistor-like structure and improve the performance of electronics. A research team from the University of Regensburg and the Polish Academy of Sciences have developed a switching concept that allows for switching the spin-polarization of an electric current on and off, tuning it continuously, or reading it off electrically by simple resistance measurements.
The researchers say the development is a significant step in utilizing electron spin for transistor action because one can tune the electrical current in the device as well as the spin-polarization of the electron current. The team used the rate of change of the electrons' spin direction in a spatially varying magnetic field orientation. In the transistor on-state, electrons travel through the device unhindered, their spin direction following a slowly rotating magnetic guiding field. In the off-state, the guiding field is twisted and changes direction rapidly, which causes electrons to deflect into energetically forbidden tracks, suppressing current.
The concept might be applied to other systems and could be implemented in a device that works at liquid helium temperatures and allows switching the spin-polarization of an electric current on and off.
From University of Regensburg (Germany)
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