Spinning Holes in Semiconductors

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Science  05 Sep 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5638, pp. 1335-1336
DOI: 10.1126/science.1089800

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The electron spin is emerging as a new powerful tool in the electronics and optics industries. Many proposed applications--including quantum computers--require the creation of spin currents. However, such currents have so far proven difficult to produce in semiconductors. In his Perspective, Fertig highlights a new theoretical analysis by Murakami et al., who show how spin currents might be achieved. The authors propose using holes rather than electrons in semiconductors with substantial spin-orbit coupling.