Spintronics: Progress in Theory, Materials, and Devices

Coordinators: Leon Balents, Gerrit Bauer, Allan MacDonald, Yaroslav Tserkovnyak

Scientific Advisors: Stuart Parkin

The field of spintronics, with a focus on spin or spin-dependent transport, collective magnetic dynamics, and optical phenomena in semiconductors, metals, insulators, superconductors, tunnel junctions, molecular magnets, and various heterostructures had benefited tremendously from the KITP-style workshops in the past, spawning very productive collaborations worldwide that last to this day. Due to the rapid developments in the field, however, the agendas those programs had propelled are all but superseded by recent progress in theory, materials, and devices. Some subfields of spintronics, such as spin Hall effect, topological phases engendered by spin-orbit interactions, and spin physics in graphene and cold atoms have spun off to form their own fields with concrete goals and focused workshops.

While spintronics is largely experimentally driven, theory has consistently played the crucial guiding role. The seminal ideas of spin-transfer torques and the rich dynamic phenomena they induce, the reciprocal spin-motive forces, a multitude of spin-based Hall effects (including the topological/quantum family) have largely been envisioned theoretically. While we will structure our program around experimental "themes" and draw motivation from possible applications and new materials, the program will be theoretical at the heart. The key questions will range from fundamentals of quantum spin transport and correlations in diverse phases of matter and nanoscale systems to highly nonlinear out-of-equilibrium phenomena involving the interplay of electronic, nuclear, optic, and mechanical spin/angular momentum degrees of freedom.

There will be an associated conference "Concepts in Spintronics" to be held Sep 30 - Oct 4. Those interested in attending the week-long conference only should apply separately for that event.