Researchers at Ohio State University have built a plastic computer memory device that stores and reads data using the spin of electrons (spintronics). The team built the device to test a new hybrid organic/magnetic polymer semiconductor material - vanadium tetracyanoethanide.
The researchers layered the new material on a traditional metallic ferromagnet. They managed to store and retrieve data on the device by altering the spins of the electrons with a magnetic field.
In a letter to Nature Materials, the researchers say the work should act as a bridge between today's computers and the all-polymer semiconductor devices of the future.
Researcher Arthur Epstein says that spintronics will solve many of the problems facing computer designers today. It boosts possible data storage density, runs on less poser, and could one day mean all-plastic devices.
"Spintronics is often just seen as a way to get more information out of an electron, but really it’s about moving to the next generation of electronics," he said.