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Particle with negative electric charge , q = -e

Spin =(1/2) magnetic

moment , m = B

This refers to the study of : Role played by electron spin in solid state physics. Possible specifically devices exploit that spin

properties instead of or in addition to charge.


In Spintronics , information is carried by orientation of spin rather than charge. Spin can assume one of the two states relative to the magnetic field, called spin up or spin down.

These states, spin up or spin down, can be used to represent

1 and 0 in binary logic. In certain Spintronics materials, spin orientation can be used as Spintronics memory as these orientation do not change when system is switched off.

MOORES LAW: It states that the number of transistors on a silicon chip will roughly double every eighteen months.

Failure of Moores Law :

Now a days, the transistors & other components have reached
nanoscale dimensions and further reducing the size would lead to: 1. Scorching heat making the circuit inoperable. 2. Also Quantum effects come into play at nanoscale

So the size of transistors & other components cannot be reduced further.

POWER DISSIPATION=GREATEST OBSTACLE FOR MOORES LAW ! Modern processor chips consume ~100 W of power of which about 20% is wasted in leakage through the transistor gates.

Spin injection

Spin manipulation

Spin detection

Spin Injection
It is the transport of (or creating a) non-equilibrium spin population across interface

a ferromagnetic electrode

Effective fields caused by spin-orbit interaction.


barrier could be used to effectively inject spins into a semiconductor spin injection via Schottky barrier

Tunneling By

hot electrons

Spin Manipulation
To control electron spin to realize desired physical operation efficiently by means of external fields Mechanism for spin transfer implies a spin filtering process. Spin filtering means that incoming electrons with spin components perpendicular to the magnetic moment in the ferromagnet are being filtered out. Spin-polarized current can transfer the angular momentum from carriers to a ferromagnet where it can change the direction of magnetization This effect is equivalent to a spin transfer torque.

Spin Transfer Torque

S v v



The spin of the conduction electron is rotated by its interaction with the magnetization.

This implies the magnetization exerts a torque on the spin. By Conservation of angular momentum, the spin exerts an equal and Opposite torque on the magnetization.

Spin Detection Technique

An ultrasensitive silicon

cantilever with a SmCo

magnetic tip positioned 125nm above a silica

specimen containing a low density of unpaired

electron spins.


Materials of Spintronics
Currently used materials in conventional electronics are usually non-magnetic and only charges are controllable.
Existing metal-based devices do not amplify signals. Whereas semiconductor based spintronic devices could in principle provide amplification and serve, in general, as multifunctional devices. All the available ferromagnetic semiconductor materials that can be used as spin injectors preserve their properties only far below room temperature, because their Curie temperatures (TC) are low.

Non-volatile memory Performance improves with smaller devices Low power consumption Spintronics does not require unique and specialized semiconductors Dissipation less transmission

Switching time is very less

Compared to normal RAM chips, spintronic RAM chips will: increase storage densities by a factor of three have faster switching and rewritability rates smaller Promises a greater integration between the logic and storage devices

Giant magneto resistance (GMR)

The basic GMR device consists of a layer of non -magnetic metal between two magnetic layers. A current consisting of spin-up and spin-down electrons is passed through the layers. Those oriented in the same direction as the electron spins in a magnetic layer pass through quite easily while those oriented in the opposite direction are scattered.


Concept of the Giant Magneto resistance (GMR)

1) Iron layers with opposite magnetizations : spin up and spin down are stopped no current (actually small current only) HIGH RESISTANCE

2) If a magnetic field aligns the magnetizations: through LOW RESISTANCE

spins go


Parallel and Perpendicular Currents

Parallel Current GMR: Current runs parallel between the ferromagnetic layers Most commonly used in magnetic read heads Has shown 200% resistance difference between zero point and antiparallel states Perpendicular Current GMR: Easier to understand theoretically, think of one FM layer as spin polarizer and other as detector Has shown 70% resistance difference between zero point and antiparallel states Basis for Tunneling MagnetoResistance


Types of GMR:
1) Multilayer GMR Two or more ferromagnetic layers are separated by a very thin non-ferromagnetic spacer (e.g. Fe/Cr/Fe). The GMR effect was first observed in the multilayer configuration. 2) Granular GMR Granular GMR is an effect that occurs in solid precipitates of a magnetic material in a non-magnetic matrix. Granule sizes vary

depending on the cooling rate and amount of subsequent annealing. Granular GMR materials have not been able to produce the high GMR ratios found in the multilayer counterparts.

3) Spin Valves If the orientation of one of the

magnetic layers be changed then the

device will act as a filter, or spin valve, letting through more electrons when the spin orientations in the two layers are the same and fewer when orientations are oppositely aligned. The electrical resistance of the device can therefore be changed dramatically.


Applications of GMR:
1)Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory: Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory (MRAM) is a non-volatile computer memory (NVRAM) technology, which has been under development since the 1990s. Continued increases in density of existing memory technologies, notably Flash RAM and DRAM kept MRAM in a niche role in the market, but its proponents believe that the advantages are so overwhelming that MRAM will eventually become dominant.

2)HARD DISK: These devices are a hybrid of a hard disk and more up to date types of memory, such as flash memory, commonly used in digital cameras. Like flash, MRAM has no moving parts and retains all of its data even when the power is switched off. But, like a hard drive, it stores data as magnetic charges. 3)Quantum computer: With quantum computing you are able to attack some problems on the time scales of seconds, which might take an almost infinite amount of time with classical computers.


A device that could increase storage density by up to 100

times. It achieves this by building

"high-rise" chips". The racetrack is a very tall column of magnetic material. It is essentially a

magnetic nanowire standing on

end above the surface a silicon



Tunnel Magnetoresistance
Magnetic tunnel junction has two
magnetic layers separated by an insulating metal-oxide layer. Is similar to a GMR spin valve except that a very thin insulator layer is sandwitched

between magnetic layers instead of metal

layer . The difference in resistance between the spin-aligned and nonaligned cases is much greater than for GMR device.


Magnetic Tunnel Junction

A magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) consists of two layers of magnetic metal, such as cobalt-iron, separated by an ultrathin layer of insulator.
Ferromagnetic electrodes

Tunnel Magnetoresistive effect combines the two spin channels in the ferromagnetic materials and the quantum tunnel effect




Applications of TMR:
Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory


MRAM combines the best characteristics of Flash, SRAM and DRAM


Journey of MRAM
Problems encountered: 1. The density of bits was low. 2. Cost of chips was high. Improved designs to overcome these problems would work only at liquid nitrogen temperature. An important breakthrough was made in the year 2009. Scientists at the North Carolina State University discovered a semiconductor material Galium manganese nitride that can store & retain spin orientation at room temperature. And research is still going on


Spintronic Research and Applications

GMR - Giant magnetoresistance - HDD read heads MTJ - Magnetic Tunnel Junction - HDD read heads+MRAM MRAM - Magnetic RAM - nonvolitile memory STT - Spin Transfer Torque - MRAM+oscillator


Problems that all the engineers and scientists may have to overcome are: To devise economic ways to combine ferromagnetic metals and semiconductors in integrated circuits. To find an efficient way to inject spin-polarized currents, or spin currents, into a semiconductor. To create long relaxation time for effective spin manipulation. What happens to spin currents at boundaries between different semiconductors? How long can a spin current retain its polarization in a semiconductor?


Future Demands
Moores Law states that the number of transistors on a silicon chip will roughly double every eighteen months By 2012, it is projected that the width of the electrodes in a microprocessor will be 40nm across As electronic devices become smaller, quantum properties of the wavelike nature of electrons are no longer negligible Spintronics devices offer the possibility of enhanced functionality, higher speed, and reduced power consumption.

Nanomagnetism and Spintronics, by Teruya shinjo. The Physics and Chemistry of nanisolids, by Frank J.Owens, Charles P.Poole. Introduction to Spintronics, by S.Bandyopadhyay, M.Cahay. Nobel lecture: Origin, development and future of Spintronics, Reveiws of Modern Physics,Vol.80,

October-December 2008.