Graphene Opens Path to Spin-Polarized Contacts on Silicon
Scientists at the Naval Research Laboratory have demonstrated that graphene, a single layer of carbon atoms in a honeycomb lattice, can serve as a low resistance spin-polarized tunnel barrier contact which successfully enables spin injection/detection in silicon from a ferromagnetic metal. The graphene provides a highly uniform, chemically inert and thermally robust tunnel barrier free of defects and trap states which plague oxide barriers. This discovery clears an important hurdle to the development of future semiconductor spintronic devices, that is, devices which rely on manipulating the electron’s spin rather than its charge for low-power, high-speed information processing beyond the traditional size scaling of Moore’s Law. The research results are reported in a paper published in Nature Nanotechnology.
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