Researchers from Queen Mary, University of London (UK) and the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) have shown that a magnetically polarised current can be manipulated by electric fields.
Published this week in the journal Nature Materials, this important discovery opens up the prospect of simultaneously processing and storing data on electrons held in the molecular structure of computer chips - combining computer memory and processing power on the same chip.
"This is especially exciting, as this discovery has been made with flexible organic semiconductors, which are set to be the new generation of displays for mobile devices, TVs and computer monitors, and could offer a step-change in power efficiency and reduced weight of these devices," said Dr Alan Drew, from Queen Mary's School of Physics, who led the research.
'Spintronics' - spin transport electronics - has rapidly become the universally used technology for computer hard disks. Designed in thin layers of magnetic and non-magnetic materials, Giant Magnetoresistive (GMR) spin valves use the magnetic properties, or 'spin', of electrons to detect computer data stored in magnetic bits. In contrast, computer processing relies on streams of electrically charged electrons flowing around a tiny circuit etched into a microchip.
Dr Drew and his team have investigated how layers of Lithium Fluoride (LiF) - a material that has an intrinsic electric field - can modify the spin of electrons transported through these spin valves. ...
via Elusive spintronics success could lead to single chip for processing and memory, Queen Mary, University of London.