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Spin current generation by sound waves

Aug. 22, 2011

Joint Research group of JAEA, Tohoku University, and Kaiserslautern Technical University has found a new method for spin current generation by sound waves.

There has recently been a growing interest in constructing a sustainable society, and much efforts have been paid to develop an environmentally-friendly energy source and a new electronic devices with much less power consumption. The so-called "spintronics", a new spin-based electronics, has drawn a global attention because it can open a new route to achieve a new functionality and less power consumption of the devices. Most of the functionality of spintronic devices are driven by a "spin current", a flow of electron spins. However, only a few methods of generating spin currents have been known so far, and a more simple and versatile method has been desired.

By attaching a piezoelectric actuator to a hybrid structure of an insulating magnet (YIG, yttrium iron garnetE/sup>) and a nonmagnetic metal (Pt, platinum), this group has demonstrated that the spin current can be generated by sound waves. Thus, this group has established a new way of generating spin current by ubiquitous sounds. This method enables to extract electric or magnetic energies from a nonmagnetic insulator which had been used merely as a substrate previously. Therefore, this technique is expected to expand the freedom of the design and integration of spintronic devices, as well as to contribute to the development of next-generation ultra low-power consumption electronic devices.

This work is published in the British science journal “Nature MaterialsE(online, August, 21, 2011).

Ettrium iron garnet
A compound having chemical formula Y3Fe5O12.

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