A research team at the University of Utah has discovered that a group of materials called organic/inorganic hybrid perovskites has promising properties for future circuits based on spintronics. In spintronics (a contraction of “electron spin” and “electronics”) the direction of the electron spin (either up or down) is used to transfer binary information (0 or 1). Using spintronics, a lot more information can be transferred than with conventional electronics using electrical currents flowing back and forth.
However, implementing spintronic components and circuits is not easy. The team at the University of Utah discovered that the investigated perovskites have two contradictory properties which are both required for the implementation of spintronics: the spin direction can be controlled easily, and the direction remains stable long enough to transmit information.
Ordinary electronic devices use silicon transistors to control electrical currents. With increasing miniaturization of these devices, the transistors have less and less area available to manage these currents. Designers are currently approaching the limits of what is possible. Spintronics offers a potential solution to this problem.
Here the electron spin direction is used to transfer information. Electrons can be regarded as tiny magnets which orbit around the nucleus of an element. The electron spin direction can have two orientations relative to the nucleus: either up or down. Combining this property with conventional electronics exponentially increases the amount of information that can be transferred.