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New Spin on Graphene

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The image shows a flow of electrons (green arrows) which magnetizes graphene in the opposite directions to the left and to the right from the current flow.

University of Manchester

University of Manchester researchers have shown that electric current can magnetize graphene, a potential breakthrough for spintronics. The findings are part of a large international research effort involving groups from the United States, Russia, Japan and the Netherlands.

The Manchester researchers, led by professor Andre Geim, found a way to interconnect spin and charge by applying a weak magnetic field to graphene, which causes a flow of spins in the direction perpendicular to electric current, magnetizing a graphene sheet. The researchers also found that the spin-orbit interaction can be manipulated by varying the external magnetic field.

In addition, the study showed that graphene placed on boron nitride is an ideal material for spintronics because the resulting magnetism extends over macroscopic distances without decay. "The holy grail of spintronics is the conversion of electricity into magnetism or vice versa," Geim says. "We offer a new mechanism, thanks to unique properties of graphene. I imagine that many venues of spintronics can benefit from this finding."

From University of Manchester
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