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Thursday, 19 July 2018

Spintronics research moves closer to working applications

by Rachel Spencer

ICREA professors Sergio O. Valenzuela and Stephan Roche discuss the recent Nature Electronics paper by Konstantin Novoselov, Abhishek Misra and colleagues in the context of future spin-based memory technologies.

To start as ICREA professors Sergio O. Valenzuela and Stephan Roche do in their Nature Electronics "news & views" piece, spintronics has recently emerged as one of the most vibrant topics in 2D materials. In particular, van de Waals heterostructures, made by layering different 2D materials with different properties, are showing potential for future use in magnetic random-access memory technologies and spin logic devices.

The latest work published by Nobel prize winner Konstantin Novoselov, Abhishek Misra and colleagues, with the title “Magnon-assisted tunnelling in van der Waals heterostructures based on CrBr3”, demonstrates the usefulness of insulating ferromagnetic chromium tribromide layers in forming a tunnel barrier that may induce spin filter effects at low enough temperatures.

Although further research is necessary to demonstrate this functionality at room temperature, as well as address issues of scalability (a bottleneck that exists across the board in 2D electronics and photonics), for Valenzuela and Roche this development constitutes a considerable step towards the effective application of these structures in future spin-filter devices and spin-based memory technologies.

Read their full review titled “A barrier to spin filters” in Nature Electronics.

ICREA Prof. Sergio O. Valenzuela is leader of the ICN2 Physics and Engineering of Nanodevices Group, while ICREA Prof. Stephan Roche leads the ICN2 Theoretical and Computational Nanoscience Group.