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Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X. For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled to its motion, i.e. its orbit within the chip. This spin-orbit coupling allows targeted manipulation of the electron spin by an external electric field, but it also causes the spin’s orientation to decay, which leads to a loss of information. In an international collaboration with colleagues from the US and Brazil, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, headed by Professor Dominik Zumbühl, have developed a new method that allows for targeted spin manipulation without the accompanying decay.”

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