Researchers from Dortmound, St. Petersburg, Washington, and the Rurh-Universitaet-Bochum (RUB) in Germany have succeeded in aligning electron spin. The researchers also were able to rotate the spin, using a laser pulse, in any desired direction at any time, as well as read the direction with another laser pulse. "This is the first, important step toward addressing these 'quantum bits,' which will form an integral part of data transfer systems and processors in the future," says RUB professor Andreas Wieck (pictured).
By applying an external magnetic field, an electron's spin can be accelerated or decelerated, causing it to waver and rotate its axis to virtually any desired angle. If these variations could be used to carry information it would be possible to store more than just 0s and 1s in an electron. A single electron has a very small measurable effect, requiring highly sensitive instruments, but by grouping electrons into ensembles the researchers created signals that are stronger by a magnitude of six, making them very sturdy and enabling the signals to be easily recorded. The team managed to confine nearly one million electrons each in virtually identical indium-arsenic islands, or quantum dots, improving their measurable effect.
From Ruhr-University Bochum (Germany)
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