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Three Atom Spintronic Device


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Engineers in the United Kingdom and China are working to find alternative ways of creating the microelectronic components of the future. Surrey University physicists are researching spintronic devices based on existing semiconductor materials. Similar to the movement of the electron charge used in modern circuits, future circuits could be based on the values of an electron's spin.

The creation of a spintronic device using silicon is extremely difficult as silicon does not interact strongly with magnetic fields. The U.K. scientists, including researchers from the London Centre of Nanotechnology and Peking University, are working to develop spintronic devices using atoms trapped in silicon. Their proposed device would be made of a trimer, a three-atom system that has two bismuth atoms separated by a phosphorus atom. The atoms could be positioned so that exciting the electrons in the bismuth and the phosphor's outer shells causes their quantum mechanical wave functions to overlap. The overlap would cause Pauli's exclusion principle to come into effect, which states that electrons cannot exist in the same state with the same quantum properties, including spin. This means that the bismuth atoms become quantum mechanically linked through the phosphor atom, which would allow for the possibility of complex quantum operations.

From The Engineer Online
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