A new scientific discovery could have profound implications for nanoelectronic components. Researchers from the Nano-Science Center at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, in collaboration with Japanese researchers, have shown how electrons on thin tubes of graphite exhibit a unique interaction between their motion and their attached magnetic field – the so-called spin. The discovery paves the way for unprecedented control over the spin of electrons and may have a big impact on applications for spin-based nanoelectronics. The results have been published in the prestigious journal Nature Physics.
Carbon is a wonderfully versatile element. It is a basic building block in living organisms, one of the most beautiful and hardest materials in the form of diamonds and is found in pencils as graphite. Carbon also has great potential as the foundation for computers of the future as components can be produced from flat, atom thin graphite layers, observed for the first time in the laboratory in 2004 – a discovery which elicited last year's Nobel Prize in Physics.
In addition to a charge all electrons have an attached magnetic field – a so-called spin. One can imagine that all electrons carry around a little bar magnet. The electron's spin has great potential as the basis for future computer chips, but this development has been hindered by the fact that the spin has proved difficult to control and measure.
In other materials, like gold for example, the motion of the electrons also have a strong influence on the direction of the spin, but as the motion is irregular, one cannot achieve control over the spin of the electrons. Carbon distinguishes itself once again from other materials by possessing entirely unique properties – properties that may be important for future nanoelectronics.
For more information: Thomas Sand Jespersen, postdoc, Nanophysics, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, +45 3532-0402, mobile: +45 2857-0164, firstname.lastname@example.org Kasper Grove-Rasmussen, postdoc, Nanophysics, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, +45 3532-0402, email@example.com
Contact: Gertie Skaarup firstname.lastname@example.org 453-532-5320 University of Copenhagen