What is Spintronics?

Spintronics is new emerging field of basic and applied research in physics and engineering where "neglected" magnetic degree of freedom of an electron—its spin—is envisaged to be exploited for classical an quantum information processing. While metallic spintronics has already delivered functional devices (GMR read heads in large capacity hard disk drives), and magnetic RAM of insulator spintronics (magnetic tunnel junctions) is expected to hit the market soon, current basic physics research is mostly focused on semiconductor spintronics. Although creation of inhomogeneous spin distribution does not require energy penalty (in contrast to charge distributions of conventional electronics), spin is not conserved whereas charge is. Thus, efforts in semiconductor spintronic research are focused on basic problems, such as: coherent manipulation of electron spin at a given location, transporting spins between different locations within conventional semiconductor environment, all-electrical spin control via spin-orbit interactions, diluted magnetic semiconductors, and fixed or mobile spin qubits for quantum computing.

GMR Valves
Magnetic Tunnel Junctions
Semiconductor Spintronic Devices
Spin Qubits

The Summer School course deals with fundamental aspects of spin dynamics and transport in semiconductors (spin injection, spin decoherence, spin relaxation, semiclassical and quantum spin-polarized transport, pure spin currents) as well as applications of these ideas and solutions to building new generation of classical information processing devices. The to be discussed in the course (e.g., spin transistors, spin diodes, opto-spintronic devices, memories, ...) are envisaged to be nonvolatile, faster in data processing, with decreased power consumption, and increased integration densities.