A research group led by Assistant Professor Kazuya Ando and Professor Eiji Saitoh at Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University has achieved the conversion between spin and charge currents in silicon, by using relativistic effects.
Silicon is one of the most fundamental semiconductors included in latest electronic devices, such as computers and cell-phones. Since silicon has outstanding material properties, it is expected to play a crucial role in Spintronics, which is drawing attention as an energy-saving electronic device technology. Spintronics utilizes spin currents of electrons instead of charge currents. One of the highest-priority issues for realizing new-generation spintronics devices such as silicon-based quantum computers and ultra-low power consumption information processing device is establishment of spin/charge currents conversion in silicon in order to retrieve computational results by spin current and stored spin information.
In this study, the research group has successfully retrieved spin currents in silicon as charge currents through the spin-orbit interaction from relativistic effects. The research results is expected to pave the way to silicon spintronics, which is highly consistent with latest electronics device production processing technology, and to greatly advance to development of environmentally-friendly next generation energy-saving devices.
This result was reported in Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (Jan. 18th, 2012), Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun(Jan. 19th, 2012), and Kagaku Shimbun(Feb. 3rd, 2012).