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Primeur weekly 2014-10-20

Special

High Performance Computing Centre in Stuttgart to focus on Cloudification ...

Cash flow calculations using Monte Carlo simulations ...

The Cloud

IBM and SAP partner to accelerate enterprise Cloud adoption ...

EuroFlash

European Commission to launch survey on EU-Brazil co-operation in the area of ICT - Work Programme 2016-2017 ...

Big Data Value Association and European Commision sign Big Data Public Private Partnership ...

New forecasting method: Predicting extreme floods in the Andes mountains ...

Symposium on HPC and Data-Intensive Applications in Earth Sciences: Challenges and Opportunities@ICTP ...

Jülich renews co-operation with Oak Ridge National Laboratory ...

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz joins Germany's Gauss-Allianz as a full member ...

PRACE supports HPC for Health ...

HP and VMware dramatically simplify and accelerate the delivery of software-defined infrastructure services with EVO: RAIL ...

Supermicro highlights VMware EVO: RAIL, FatTwin Virtual SAN Ready nodes and NVIDIA GRID vGPU SuperServer at VMworld Barcelona ...

Calling on universities to submit their HPCAC-ISC 2015 Student Cluster Competition application ...

PRACE SHAPE and NSilico pool HPC knowledge to develop faster sequencing methods ...

A novel platform for future spintronic technologies ...

Future computers could be built from magnetic 'tornadoes' ...

USFlash

New SGI UV for SAP HANA enables real-time business for large enterprises ...

Cray adds new advanced analytics solution to its Big Data product portfolio ...

Australian teams set new records for silicon quantum computing ...

IBM announces first commercial application of IBM Watson in Africa ...

Among DOE supercomputing facilities, NERSC is at the forefront of data management and storage innovations ...

SC14 announces ACM/IEEE-CS George Michael HPC Fellowships ...

Fujitsu partners with Singapore to set up Centre of Excellence for sustainable urbanisation ...

UC Santa Cruz leads $11 million Center for Big Data in Translational Genomics ...

Australian volcanic mystery explained ...

Supermicro enhances VMware EVO: RAIL and Virtual SAN offerings with Nexenta ...

Dispelling a misconception about Mg-ion batteries ...

A novel platform for future spintronic technologies

12 Oct 2014 Lausanne - Spintronics is an emerging field of technology where devices work by manipulating the spin of electrons rather than their charge. The field can bring significant advantages to computer technology, combining higher speeds with lower energy consumption. Spintronic circuits need ways to control electron spin without interference from electron charge. Scientists at EPFL, working with Université Paris-Sud and Paul Scherrer Institut, have discovered that a common insulating material behaves as a perfect spintronic conductor because it is not affected by background electron charge. In addition, the material's properties make it an ideal platform for directly observing a strange subatomic particle that could one day lead to a different, more stable type of quantum computers.

Spintronics - spin-transport or spin-based electronics - is a technology that exploits a quantum property of electrons called spin. Although difficult to describe in everyday terms, electron spin can be loosely compared to the rotation of a planet or a spinning top around its axis. Spin exists in either of two directions: "up" or "down", which can be described respectively as the clockwise or counter-clockwise rotation of the electron around its axis. Ultimately, spin is what gives electrons their magnetic properties, influencing the way they behave when they enter a magnetic field.

The different directions of electron spin can be used to encode information, much like the binary code used in digital communication. Spintronics can therefore open up a new generation of devices that combine conventional microelectronics with spin-dependent effects, overcoming the limitations of today's electronics like speed and energy consumption. The main challenge is being able to actually control electron spin, turning "up" or "down" as needed. This can be achieved with certain materials, but the problem is that these are often susceptible to interference from the charge of electrons.

The team of Hugo Dil at EPFL, working with scientists from Paris and the PSI, has shown that a transparent insulating material, which normally does not conduct electrical charge, shows spin-dependent properties. The scientists used a method called SARPES, which has been perfected by Hugo Dil's group. The data showed that the electron gas at the surface of strontium titanate (SrTiO3) is spin-polarized, which means that it could be used to control the spin of electrons.

"This is interesting because it is the first evidence of a large spin polarization effect on a truly insulating substrate", stated Hugo Dil. The discovery has significant implications for the future of spintronics, because it can lead to the development of spin-polarized materials that are not susceptible to interference from non spin-polarized electrical charge, allowing for finer and better control of electron spin.

Beyond spintronics, this insulating material might also be important for quantum computing, as it could be used to directly observe an elusive, strange particle called the Majorana fermion. This particle is unique because it actually is its own antiparticle as well. Sometimes referred to as the "ghost particle", the Majorana fermion has zero energy, zero moment, zero spin, and, so far, has never been observed unambiguously. In the future, Majorana fermions could become the foundation for a different kind of quantum computer that would, in theory, be exceptionally stable, as it would not be susceptible to external interference and noise.

This work represents an equal collaboration between Hugo Dil's group at EPFL (ICMP-SOIS), a group from the Université Paris-Sud (CSNSM & CNRS/IN2P3), and experts at Paul Scherrer Institut (Swiss Light Source).

Santander-Syro A.F., Fortuna F., Bareille C., Rödel T.C., Landolt G., Plumb N.C., Dil J.H., Radović M. are the authors of the paper titled "Giant spin splitting of the two-dimensional electron gas at the surface of SrTiO3", which appeared inNature Materials- DOI: 10.1038/nmat4107.
Source: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne - EPFL

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2014-10-20

Special

High Performance Computing Centre in Stuttgart to focus on Cloudification ...

Cash flow calculations using Monte Carlo simulations ...

The Cloud

IBM and SAP partner to accelerate enterprise Cloud adoption ...

EuroFlash

European Commission to launch survey on EU-Brazil co-operation in the area of ICT - Work Programme 2016-2017 ...

Big Data Value Association and European Commision sign Big Data Public Private Partnership ...

New forecasting method: Predicting extreme floods in the Andes mountains ...

Symposium on HPC and Data-Intensive Applications in Earth Sciences: Challenges and Opportunities@ICTP ...

Jülich renews co-operation with Oak Ridge National Laboratory ...

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz joins Germany's Gauss-Allianz as a full member ...

PRACE supports HPC for Health ...

HP and VMware dramatically simplify and accelerate the delivery of software-defined infrastructure services with EVO: RAIL ...

Supermicro highlights VMware EVO: RAIL, FatTwin Virtual SAN Ready nodes and NVIDIA GRID vGPU SuperServer at VMworld Barcelona ...

Calling on universities to submit their HPCAC-ISC 2015 Student Cluster Competition application ...

PRACE SHAPE and NSilico pool HPC knowledge to develop faster sequencing methods ...

A novel platform for future spintronic technologies ...

Future computers could be built from magnetic 'tornadoes' ...

USFlash

New SGI UV for SAP HANA enables real-time business for large enterprises ...

Cray adds new advanced analytics solution to its Big Data product portfolio ...

Australian teams set new records for silicon quantum computing ...

IBM announces first commercial application of IBM Watson in Africa ...

Among DOE supercomputing facilities, NERSC is at the forefront of data management and storage innovations ...

SC14 announces ACM/IEEE-CS George Michael HPC Fellowships ...

Fujitsu partners with Singapore to set up Centre of Excellence for sustainable urbanisation ...

UC Santa Cruz leads $11 million Center for Big Data in Translational Genomics ...

Australian volcanic mystery explained ...

Supermicro enhances VMware EVO: RAIL and Virtual SAN offerings with Nexenta ...

Dispelling a misconception about Mg-ion batteries ...