New design principles for spin-based quantum materials

Scientists at Northwestern University have developed new design principles that could help spur development of future quantum materials.

The study marks an important step to create new materials that are non-volatile, energy efficient, and generate less heat — important aspects of future ultrafast, low-power electronics and quantum computers.

Rather than certain classes of semiconductors using the electron’s charge in transistors to power computing, solid-state spin-based materials utilize the electron’s spin and have the potential to support low-energy memory devices. In particular, materials with a high-quality persistent spin texture (PST) can exhibit a long-lived persistent spin helix (PSH), which can be used to track or control the spin-based information in a transistor.

Although many spin-based materials already encode information using spins, that information can be corrupted as the spins propagate in the active portion of the transistor. The researchers’ novel PST protects that spin information in helix form, making it a potential platform where ultralow energy and ultrafast spin-based logic and memory devices operate.

The research team used quantum-mechanical models and computational methods to develop a framework to identify and assess the spin textures in a group of non-centrosymmetric crystalline materials. 

The group determined an optimal PST material, Sr3Hf2O7, which showed a substantially longer spin lifetime for the helix than in any previously reported material. (ScienceDaily)

The paper has been published in Matter.

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