Collaborative Research: Coherent Spin Control in Microfabricated Semiconductor Geometries

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

Technical The past decade has witnessed rapid advances in the development of "semiconductor spintronics," an area of research that broadly aims to exploit electron spin for qualitatively new semiconductor device functionality of both semi-classical and quantum character. This collaborative project is aimed at harnessing recent fundamental discoveries in semiconductor spintronics (such as the spin Hall effect and the enhancement of spin coherence in micro-resonators) for the systematic control of coherent spin phenomena in micro-patterned semiconductor devices. We will develop static and dynamical electrical measurements of the spin Hall effect as well seek pathways for enhancing the magnitude of this phenomenon. We also intend to pursue investigations that explore the entanglement and coherent manipulation of spins in coupled optical microcavities, with the ultimate goal of coherently controlling a single spin. Finally, we will conduct experiments that exploit the exchange interaction across interfaces for coherent spin control in both paramagnetic and ferromagnetic semiconductor heterostructures. Methods of investigation include spatially-resolved femtosecond optical spectroscopies, variable-temperature magnetotransport, direct magnetization, scanning probe microscopies, molecular beam epitaxial growth, and submicron fabrication techniques. The project is an integrated effort between the two principal investigators, emphasizing fundamental discovery in condensed matter physics, but with a clear eye on phenomena that could be of potential importance for future information technologies. The project combines sophisticated measurement techniques with advanced materials engineering, thus providing cutting edge training in both fundamental physics and materials science for undergraduate and graduate students. Non-technical Contemporary information technology relies on the charge of electrons for computation (logic) and the magnetic properties called spin of electrons for permanent storage. The past decade has witnessed rapid advances in the development of "semiconductor spintronics," an area of research that broadly aims to integrate these traditionally separate functionalities. This proposal is aimed at the fundamental frontiers of semiconductor spintronics, where we seek to control the behavior of electron spin in microscopically patterned semiconductor chips. By exploiting the consequences of special relativity in solid state crystals, we will develop electrical means of probing and harnessing the "spin Hall effect," a contemporary spin analog of the classical Hall effect discovered over a century ago. Enhancing our fundamental understanding of the spin Hall effect may allow us to envision new classes of spintronic devices that exploit the non-intuitive laws of quantum physics for new types of logic without the need for magnetic fields or magnetic materials. We also intend to develop experiments that explore the quantum control of spins in finely tuned "micro-resonators," micron sized "boxes" that trap light and thus enhance its interaction with the spin of electrons. Our ultimate goal is the quantum mechanical control of a single electron spin in such boxes, enabling both computation and optical communication in a single device. Finally, we will develop experiments that exploit the interaction between magnetic ions and itinerant electrons across exquisitely designed interfaces. The project is an integrated effort between the two principal investigators, emphasizing fundamental discovery but with a clear eye on phenomena that could be of potential importance for future information technologies. The project combines sophisticated measurement techniques with advanced materials engineering, thus providing cutting edge training in both fundamental physics and materials science for undergraduate and graduate students.

StatusFinished
Effective start/end date7/1/0810/31/13

Funding

  • National Science Foundation: $345,000.00
  • National Science Foundation: $595,000.00

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