PerspectiveApplied Physics

Mesmerizing Semiconductors

Science  10 Dec 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5703, pp. 1898-1899
DOI: 10.1126/science.1106931

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The young field of spintronics aims to use the electron spin, rather than just its charge, in semiconductor microelectronic devices. In his Perspective, Bauer explains that spintronics faces a key hurdle: how to inject spins into semiconductors and maintain a spin current. He highlights the report by Kato et al., who provide evidence for the flow of magnetization in semiconductor films without invoking external magnetic fields or ferromagnets. The authors conclude that this spin Hall current is mainly caused by defects that scatter electrons with opposite spins to different edges of the samples via their spin-orbit interaction.