The Spin on Electronics! Science and Technology of Spin Currents in Nano-materials and Nano-devices
Stuart Parkin, Ph.D.
Recent advances in manipulating spin-polarized electron currents in atomically engineered magnetic heterostructures make possible entirely new classes of sensor, memory and logic devices - a research field generally referred to as spintronics. A magnetic recording read head, initially formed from a spin-valve, and more recently by a magnetic tunnel junction, has enabled a 1,000-fold increase in the storage capacity of hard disk drives since 1997. The very low cost of disk drives and the high performance and reliability of solid-state memories, may be combined in the Racetrack Memory. The Racetrack Memory is a novel three dimensional technology which stores information as a series of magnetic domain walls in nanowires, manipulated by spin polarized currents. Spintronic devices may even allow for “plastic” devices that mimic synaptic switches in the brain, thereby allowing for the possibility of very low power computing devices.