SFB/TRR 173 SPIN+X

What is Spin-Engineering?

Spin engineering combines basic research with the development of new technical applications. technical applications. Methods are being explored for, on the one hand, to detect various Spin-Phenomena and, on the other hand, to control and manipulate spins in a targeted manner. These manipulation possibilities can be used, for example, to produce a specific spin configuration in a thin magnetic layer. in a thin magnetic layer. Structures consisting of several such layers are used for the application of spin phenomena, for example used in new spintronic storage media (see below). Other materials that can be spin engineering can be developed are magnetic nanoparticles or magnetic molecules. Knowledge of spin is also applied in powerful analytical tools, such as nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

What is spintronics?

Spintronics is understood to be a special form of electronics. In traditional electronics, electrical currents or voltages are used to transmit information. The basis for these currents and voltages are the charges of electrons. In spintronics, instead of charge, the spin of electrons is exploited. For this purpose, special materials are used, which are researched and manufactured with techniques of  spin engineering.

Various physical effects can form a basis for the development of spintronic devices. Example: If a magnetic field prevails in a conductor, the electrical resistance is lower for electrons whose spin points in the direction of the magnetic field than for electrons with opposite spin. electrons with opposite spin. If the spin of all electrons in the conductor points in the same direction, then a change in the direction of the magnetic field in the conductor has a large effect on its resistance. In this way magnetic fields can be measured very precisely. This technique finds application in various sensors that are used used, for example, in modern storage media such as hard disks (for a more detailed explanation, see "The GMR effect).

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