Reversible switching of magnetization ― a key element of magnetic information storage ― can be implemented by using only the spin of electrons, without needing to move their charges as well, shows a study online this week in Nature Physics. This technique could lead to novel, low-energy electronic devices.
Traditional electronics uses the charges of electrons for transporting, storing and processing information. In addition to charge, electrons also possess a property known as spin, which can also perform such functions, but because of the difficulties in producing spin-only currents, most applications still rely on the transport of both spin and charge. However, YoshiChika Otani and co-workers have now managed to create intense pure spin currents, which offer potential advantages such as reduced heating and faster operation.