Mysteries of a promising spintronic material revealed

  • NiO is a promising material for spintronic devices, where signals are transmitted not by electrical currents but rather by spin waves, consisting of propagating disturbances in the ordering of magnetic materials.
  • The researchers used ultraviolet Raman spectroscopy to investigate how spin ordering affects the energies of phonons in these materials.
  • Phonons are quanta of vibrations of ions, which constitute the crystal lattice of materials.
  • Phonons can interact with electrons and their spins, leading to energy dissipation. Practical applications of spintronic devices in information processing require accurate knowledge of the strength of the electron spin interaction with phonons.
  • The trick worked because relevant phonon peaks can be seen with much better resolution in the spectrum of nickel oxide under ultraviolet laser excitation.
  • Unlike conventional electronic transistors, spintronic devices encode and communicate information, not with the electric currents, but rather with the spin currents or spin waves.
  • For this reason, electrically insulating magnetic materials, such as nickel oxide, can be used for memory storage and information processing.Avoiding electrical currents, spintronic devices have a potential for ultra-fast and low-energy-dissipation operation.
  • Interaction with phonons is one of the energy dissipation mechanisms in spintronics.
  • The data reported by the researchers may help in optimizing the design of spintronic devices by altering phonon properties and the way phonons interact with electron spins.


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