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Priority Program SPP 1285
Semiconductor Spintronics
Spintronic > Summary of the topic

Summary of the topic

The operating principle of semiconductor devices must be changed radically in the next 20 years, since quantum effects will dominate with the progressive reduction of feature sizes. The semiconductor industry is aware of this coming revolution, which follows inevitably from Moore's law. However, to date no one knows how such quantum semiconductor devices will operate.

Traditional semiconductor devices are based on the control of the electric charge. The electrical charge may not be the most appropriate way to control quantum mechanical components, as the coherence length of the spatial wave function of electrons is extremely small. In addition to the charge, the electron has a spin as an additional property. The spin of the electron is many orders of magnitude more stable than the spatial wave function and therefore fundamentally better suited for quantum devices. Additionaly, the energy needed for switching the spin orientation is orders of magnitude smaller than the Coulomb charging energy, so that the extremely problematic heat generation in todays semiconductor devices could be overcome.

The use of the electron spin in semiconductor devices has recently become a rapidly growing research field, known as semiconductor spintronics. Spintronics goes far beyond todays commercial magneto-electronics, based on ferromagnetic metal layers. The goal is the control of single spins by optical or electrical methods and to couple spin pairs. It intends, in contrast to the magneto-electronics, to modify the magnetic properties through the carrier density to realize spin-optoelectronic devices and to develop new quantum devices. Spintronics involves the research of traditional semiconductor physics, magnetism, the component development and quantum information processing in solids. The scientific objectives of the proposed priority program "Semiconductor Spintronics" are the research on

  • efficient injection of spin polarized electrons using para- and ferromagnetic semiconductors and ferromagnetic metal clusters,
  • transport of electron spins across interfaces and large distances,
  • direct manipulation of the orientation of electron spins,
  • spin-spin-interaction,
  • concepts for the development of spin electronics and spin-optoelectronics,
  • basic principles of the spin-quantum information processing in semiconductors.

To maintain a sufficient focus, the following topics are not part of the priority program: Spintronics with organic materials or metals (magneto-electronics), development of Heusler contacts to inject spin polarized carriers, metal-semiconductor-metal heterostructures classical ESR and NMR, physics of the quantum Hall effect and Luttinger liquids.

Important Dates:


15. Sept. 2013:
Deadline for the special volume semiconductor spintronics (DFG final report) in physica status solidi b
(further information is sent via email)


30. Sept. - 2. Oct. 2013:
final meeting of the priority program "International workshop on semiconductor spintronics" located in the Residenz Würzburg
(further information)

Recent publication(s):

C. Drexler, S.A. Tarasenko, P. Olbrich, J. Karch, M. Hirmer, F. Müller, M. Gmitra, J. Fabian, R. Yakimova, S. Lara-Avila, S. Kubatkin, M. Wang, R. Vajtai, P. M. Ajayan, J. Kono, and S.D. Ganichev :  "Magnetic quantum ratchet effect in graphene" Nature Nanotechnology 8, 104 (2013)

J.H. Buß, J. Rudolph, S. Shvarkov, H. Hardtdegen, A.D. Wieck, and D. Hägele:  "Long electron spin coherence in ion‐implanted GaN: The role of localization" Appl. Phys. Lett. 102, 192102 (2013)

D.J. English, J. Hübner, P.S. Eldridge, D. Taylor, M. Henini, R.T. Harley, and M. Oestreich:  "Effect of symmetry reduction on the spin dynamics of (001)-oriented GaAs quantum wells" Phys. Rev. B 87, 075304 (2013)

V.L. Korenev, I.A. Akimov, S.V. Zaitsev, V.F. Sapega, L. Langer, D.R. Yakovlev, Yu. A. Danilov, and M. Bayer:  "Dynamic spin polarization by orientation-dependent separation in a ferromagnet–semiconductor hybrid" Nature Communications 3, 959 (2012)

M. Althammer, E.-M. Karrer-Müller, S.T.B. Goennenwein, M. Opel, R. Gross:  "Spin transport and spin dephasing in zinc oxide" Appl. Phys. Lett. 101, 082404 (2012)