Applied Physics

Gated Spin Control in Carbon Nanotubes

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Science  27 Jan 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5760, pp. 439
DOI: 10.1126/science.311.5760.439c

The growing fields of molecular electronics and spin electronics offer the future possibility of high-density electronic devices, but with the advantage of avoiding the problem of how to dissipate the heat that builds up in such densely packed structures. Nagabhirava et al. have combined the two approaches using a carbon single-walled nanotube (c-SWNT) to bridge the gap between the ferromagnetic source and drain contacts. With the gap reduced to around 10 nm in order to reduce spin-scattering events along the nanotube, they show that the magnitude and sign of the magnetoresistance, a measure of the flow of polarized electrons through the carbon nanotube in response to an external magnetic field, can be reproducibly modified from +10% to −15% by application of a bias on a back gate. The results provide strong evidence for spin transport through c-SWNTs and promise for the spin transistor, a device in which a gate bias controls the flow of spin-polarized current between the source and drain contacts. — ISO

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