Silicon, King of electronics is dead; long live silicon, King of spin?

New research published in Nature suggests silicon's days as the pre-eminent material in electronics design are not yet over.As the size of electronics continues on its ever decreasing path, quantum mechanical effects become more and more important.

New research published in Nature suggests silicon's days as the pre-eminent material in electronics design are not yet over.

As the size of electronics continues on its ever decreasing path, quantum mechanical effects become more and more important. The next step from controlling electrons is to control the state of electrons; their spin. This new field, spintronics, looked like it was out of reach for silicon.

Things looked bleak. According to a group of researchers in Australia “the control of single electrons in silicon has proved challenging, and so far the observation and manipulation of a single spin has been impossible.”

But now the group at New South Wales University reports seeing spin lifetimes of six seconds of electrons in silicon.

This was observed “in a device consisting of implanted phosphorus donors9 coupled to a metal-oxide-semiconductor single-electron transistor10, 11—compatible with current microelectronic technology.”

From the abstract: “High-fidelity single-shot spin readout in silicon opens the way to the development of a new generation of quantum computing and spintronic devices, built using the most important material in the semiconductor industry.”

More on this as soon as we hear back from the researchers.

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