A team of researchers was able to create a new testing method for quantum systems. In this particular case they are able to directly control how select particles interact, a discovery that has the potential to revolutionize spintronics.
The use of spintronics (spin transport electronics) could dramatically change the way in which electronic devices work, particularly when it comes to computers. A traditional electronic device will use an electron’s charge in order to encode information. In the case of spintronics devices the electron’s ability to spin will be used in order to store data.
Devices that use spintronics technology have the potential to be more reliable in the long run while also being faster. Since the spin of the electron can be altered quickly it is also likely that these devices will consume less power in order to deliver superior performance.
In theory spintronics sound promising but more work is needed until the first devices will become available. There are many issues that have to be tackled in order to learn how to influence spin information. The main challenge is posed by the need to learn the speed at which the information carried by the spin, called by some spin current, decays over time.
While the electrons perform as expected in controlled conditions those that are found in the real world can be influenced by other particles. This process leads to an interaction between the spin of the particle and its momentum called spin-orbit coupling.
A new paper notes that spin-orbit coupling has to potential to lead to an exponential increase of the speed at which a spin current decays when observed in a quantum fluid known as Bose-Einstein condensate (or BEC).
The researchers that elaborated the paper created a special device that allows them to collide to BECs and observe the results. In the moment of impact the researchers were able to spot a spin current that appeared when a state of reciprocated partial penetration was achieved.
The new information could provide the answer to spin decay and pave the way to functional spintronics.