The spin degree-of-freedom is o?ering a wide range of intriguing oppor- nities both in fundamental as well as in applied solid-state physics. When combined with the rich and fertile physics of low-dimensional semicondu- ingstructuresandwiththepossibilitytochange,forexample,carrierdensity, electric ?elds or coupling to other quantum systems in a controlled way, an extremely exciting and interesting research ?eld is opened. Most comm- cial electronic devices are based on spin-independent charge transport. In the last two decades, however, scientists have been focusing on the ambitious objective of exploiting the spin degree-of-freedom of the electron to achieve vel functionalities. Ferromagnetic semiconductors, spin transistors, sing- spin manipulations or spin-torque MRAMs (magnetoresistive random access memories) are some of the hot topics. The importance of spin phemena for new applications was recognized by the Royal Swedish Academy of S- ences by awarding the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics jointly to Albert Fert and Peter Grun .. berg for the discovery of giant magnetoresistance . This - fect originates from spin-dependent scattering phemena in a two-terminal ferromagnetic-paramagnetic-ferromagnetic junction leading to a new type of magnetic memory. The Hall e?ect and its applications remain fertile - search areas. The spin Hall e?ect, in analogy with the conventional Hall e?ect, occurs in paramagnetic systems as a result of spin-orbit interaction.
Marco Fanciulli is the Director of the CNR-INFM MDM (Materials and Devices for Microelectronics) National Laboratory and Full Professor at the Department of Material Science at the University of Milano Bicocca.
Springer-Verlag Berlin and Heidelberg GmbH & Co. KG
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Topics in Applied Physics
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Springer-Verlag Berlin and Heidelberg GmbH & Co. K