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      Spintronics

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      Annual Review of Condensed Matter Physics

      Annual Reviews

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          Magnetic domain-wall racetrack memory.

          Recent developments in the controlled movement of domain walls in magnetic nanowires by short pulses of spin-polarized current give promise of a nonvolatile memory device with the high performance and reliability of conventional solid-state memory but at the low cost of conventional magnetic disk drive storage. The racetrack memory described in this review comprises an array of magnetic nanowires arranged horizontally or vertically on a silicon chip. Individual spintronic reading and writing nanodevices are used to modify or read a train of approximately 10 to 100 domain walls, which store a series of data bits in each nanowire. This racetrack memory is an example of the move toward innately three-dimensional microelectronic devices.
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            Magnetic control of ferroelectric polarization.

            The magnetoelectric effect--the induction of magnetization by means of an electric field and induction of polarization by means of a magnetic field--was first presumed to exist by Pierre Curie, and subsequently attracted a great deal of interest in the 1960s and 1970s (refs 2-4). More recently, related studies on magnetic ferroelectrics have signalled a revival of interest in this phenomenon. From a technological point of view, the mutual control of electric and magnetic properties is an attractive possibility, but the number of candidate materials is limited and the effects are typically too small to be useful in applications. Here we report the discovery of ferroelectricity in a perovskite manganite, TbMnO3, where the effect of spin frustration causes sinusoidal antiferromagnetic ordering. The modulated magnetic structure is accompanied by a magnetoelastically induced lattice modulation, and with the emergence of a spontaneous polarization. In the magnetic ferroelectric TbMnO3, we found gigantic magnetoelectric and magnetocapacitance effects, which can be attributed to switching of the electric polarization induced by magnetic fields. Frustrated spin systems therefore provide a new area to search for magnetoelectric media.
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              Spintronics: Fundamentals and applications

              Spintronics, or spin electronics, involves the study of active control and manipulation of spin degrees of freedom in solid-state systems. This article reviews the current status of this subject, including both recent advances and well-established results. The primary focus is on the basic physical principles underlying the generation of carrier spin polarization, spin dynamics, and spin-polarized transport in semiconductors and metals. Spin transport differs from charge transport in that spin is a nonconserved quantity in solids due to spin-orbit and hyperfine coupling. The authors discuss in detail spin decoherence mechanisms in metals and semiconductors. Various theories of spin injection and spin-polarized transport are applied to hybrid structures relevant to spin-based devices and fundamental studies of materials properties. Experimental work is reviewed with the emphasis on projected applications, in which external electric and magnetic fields and illumination by light will be used to control spin and charge dynamics to create new functionalities not feasible or ineffective with conventional electronics.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Annual Review of Condensed Matter Physics
                Annu. Rev. Condens. Matter Phys.
                Annual Reviews
                1947-5454
                1947-5462
                August 10 2010
                August 10 2010
                : 1
                : 1
                : 71-88
                Article
                10.1146/annurev-conmatphys-070909-104123
                © 2010

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