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Spintronics and Semiconductors in 2017

Spintronics emerged as a research frontier in solid state physics in the 1980s. The difference between spintronics and conventional electronics is the focus on spin rather than charge. Spintronics devices generally take advantage of both properties to refine their capabilities.

At the subatomic level, the property of spin refers to a particle’s (in this case, an electron’s) angular momentum. Spin can be measured in sufficiently high quality materials, leading to greater understanding of how we can harness spin to improve devices.

Applications of Spintronics for Semiconductors

The ongoing trend of increasing memory while decreasing size demands solutions on an ever-shrinking scale. By understanding and controlling electron spin,

  • Ferrousmagnetic semiconductors become possible, as do spin transistors.
  • Logic circuits are non-volatile and power efficient.
  • n-type semiconductors will offer a range of new functionalities, including quantum size effects and wave function manipulation.
  • They can achieve more storage density.
  • Spin transfer torque can implement MRAM, which could offer exceptional speeds.

Spintronics and MRAM

Magnetic random access memory (MRAM) promises a non-volatile, scalable, power efficient solution that can be implemented alongside existing Si-based semiconductor materials. Spintronics-based electronics have found niche applications and continue to disrupt the industry as researchers discover more potential. These devices may replace conventional Si-based memory technology, but more importantly, spintronics can be integrated with current technologies.

Materials Today released a review on the current state of MRAM research and application. It introduces the principles behind MRAM technology, discusses the benefits, and reviews the past 30 years of development in this specialized field.

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