‘Spintronics’ can be a fairly new term for you but the concept isn’t so very exotic this technological discipline aims to exploit the subtle and mind-bending esoteric quantum properties of the electron to develop a new generation of electronic devices. The word itself is a blend of electronics with spin, the quantum property it exploits. Like so many words applied to the subatomic realm, you can refer spin figuratively as a convenient label for a property that has no equivalent in gross matter.
Every electron exists in one of two states, namely, spin-up and spin-down, with its spin either +1/2 or - 1/2 (refer Figs 1 and 2). In other words, an electron can rotate either clockwise or anticlockwise around its own axis with constant frequency. The two possible spin states naturally represent ‘0’ and ‘1’ states in logical operations. And just because of this it is possible to make a sandwich of gold atoms between two thin films of magnetic material that acts as, a filter or a valve permitting only the electrons in one of the two states to pass. The filter can be changed from one state to the other using a brief and tiny burst of current.
There are total three categories of spintronics based devices: 1) ferromagnetic metallic alloy based devices, 2) semiconductor based devices and 3) the devices that manipulate the quantum spin states of individual electrons for information processing .
Ferromagnetic metallic alloy based devices are mainly used in memory and information storage. They are also termed as magnetoelectronics devices. They rely on the giant magnetoresistance (GMR) or tunnelling magnetoresistance effect. Magnetic interaction is well understood in this category of devices
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