The KITP Public Lecture Series
The Spin on Electronics!: The nanoscience and nanotech of spin currents
sponsored by Friends of KITP
Spintronics is a research field that is focused on the controlled manipulation of currents of the quantum-mechanical spin angular momentum of electrons in atomically engineered nanostructures. It promises entirely new classes of sensor, memory and logic devices. Magnetic recording read heads – initially formed from a "spin-valve", and more recently using a "magnetic tunnel junction" – have enabled a 1,000-fold increase in the storage capacity of hard disk drives since 1997. The very low cost of disk drives coupled with the high performance and reliability of solid-state memories, may be combined in the Racetrack Memory – 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, which would allow for the possibility of ultra-low power computing devices.