From U Utah: “A new spin on electronics”

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University of Utah

A University of Utah-led team has discovered that a class of “miracle materials” called organic-inorganic hybrid perovskites could be a game changer for future spintronic devices.

Spintronics uses the direction of the electron spin — either up or down — to carry information in ones and zeros. A spintronic device can process exponentially more data than traditional electronics that use the ebb and flow of electrical current to generate digital instructions. But physicists have struggled to make spintronic devices a reality.

The new study, published online today in Nature Physics, is the first to show that organic-inorganic hybrid perovskites are a promising material class for spintronics. The researchers discovered that the perovskites possess two contradictory properties necessary to make spintronic devices work — the electrons’ spin can be easily controlled, and can also maintain the spin direction long enough to transport information, a property known as spin lifetime.

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Sarah Li (left) and Z. Valy Vardeny (right) stand behind the area where they prepared the film sample of the hybrid perovskite methyl-ammonium lead iodine (CH3NH3PbI3). The researchers’ new study is the first to show that the material is a promising candidate for spintronics, an alternative to conventional electronics. Spintronics uses the spin of the electron itself to carry information, rather than the electron’s charge. Photo credit: University of Utah

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The ultrafast laser shoots very short light pulses 80 million times a second at the hybrid perovskite material to determine whether its electrons could be used to carry information in future devices. They split the laser into two beams; the first one hits the film to set the electron spin in the desired direction. The second beam bends through a series of mirrors like a pin ball machine before hitting the perovskite film at increasing time intervals to measure how long the electron held the spin in the prepared direction. Photo credit: University of Utah

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The University of Utah (also referred to as the U, the U of U, or Utah) is a public coeducational space-grant research university in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. As the state’s flagship university, the university offers more than 100 undergraduate majors and more than 92 graduate degree programs. The university is classified in the highest ranking: “R-1: Doctoral Universities – Highest Research Activity” by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The Carnegie Classification also considers the university as “selective”, which is its second most selective admissions category. Graduate studies include the S.J. Quinney College of Law and the School of Medicine, Utah’s only medical school. As of Fall 2015, there are 23,909 undergraduate students and 7,764 graduate students, for an enrollment total of 31,673.

The university was established in 1850 as the University of Deseret (Listeni/dɛz.əˈrɛt./[12]) by the General Assembly of the provisional State of Deseret, making it Utah’s oldest institution of higher education.It received its current name in 1892, four years before Utah attained statehood, and moved to its current location in 1900.

The university ranks among the top 50 U.S. universities by total research expenditures with over $486 million spent in 2014. 22 Rhodes Scholars,[14] three Nobel Prize winners, two Turing Award winners, three MacArthur Fellows, various Pulitzer Prize winners, two astronauts, Gates Cambridge Scholars, and Churchill Scholars have been affiliated with the university as students, researchers, or faculty members in its history. In addition, the university’s Honors College has been reviewed among 50 leading national Honors Colleges in the U.S. The university has also been ranked the 12th most ideologically diverse university in the country.

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