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Prediction of Intrinsic Magnetism at Silicon Surfaces Could Lead to Single-Spin Magnetoelectronics


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electron spins on silicon atoms

Electron spins (arrows) on silicon atoms at the step edges of the Si(553)-Au surface.

Credit: Naval Research Laboratory

Physicists at the Naval Research Laboratory and the University of Wisconsin-Madison predict that a family of well-known silicon surfaces, stabilized by chains of gold atoms, exhibits intrinsic magnetism despite the absence of magnetic elements. If their theory is verified, it could make it possible to integrate single-spin magnetoelectronics within standard silicon technology. The construction of a single-spin device on a silicon wafer would enable direct integration of input and output electronics with the device's magnetic portion.

The researchers' work suggests several experiments for directly testing their predictions, including spin-polarized scanning tunneling microscopy. Linear chains of spin-polarized atoms supply atomically perfect templates for the ultimate memory and logic, whereby a bit is represented by a single spin. Potential applications include a spin shift register and the storage of data in single magnetic atoms.

From Naval Research Laboratory
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Abstracts Copyright © 2010 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


 

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