Scientists at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (TIT) have proposed new materials for use in spintronic applications — a cutting edge technology which could revolutionize electronics as we know them today. While conventional electronics operate based on the movement of electrons and their electric charge, spintronics exploit electrons’ angular momentum or “spin”. Scientists believe harnessing the power of this momentum can result in serious improvements in performance of electronics as well as new applications.
The TIT researchers have suggested a new mechanism to generate a spin current without energy loss from a series of simulations for new quasi-1D materials based on bismuth-adsorbed indium that exhibit a giant Rashba-Bychkov effect — a splitting of spin-up and spin-down electrons due to breakings in symmetry. It should be noted that the main hurdle in the generation of spin currents is the lack of material structures that possess electrons with desirable spin properties.
“Our mechanism is suitable for spintronic applications, having an advantage that it does not require an external magnetic field to generate non-dissipative spin current,” explains Associate Professor Yoshihiro Gohda. This advantage would simplify potential spintronic devices and would allow for further miniaturization.
The team at TIT conducted simulation experiments based on their new material to show that they have a large Rashba effect and only require the application of a certain amount of voltage to generate spin currents. By comparing the Rashba properties of multiple variations of these materials, they provided explanations for the observed differences in the materials’ spin properties and a guide for further materials exploration.
Such research remains of great significance in terms of creating new electronic devices which can go beyond contemporary physical limitations. This could result in everything from faster memories to more compact quantum computers. “Our study should be important for energy-efficient spintronic applications and stimulating further exploration of different 1D Rashba systems,” says Gohda.