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Stuart S.P. Parkin
Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics, Halle (Saale), Germany
Spintronics is a field of research that harnesses the electron’s spin to create novel materials with exotic properties and devices, especially those for storing digital data, which is the lifeblood of many of the most valuable companies today. Spintronics has already had two major technological successes, including, for one, the invention and application of spin-valve magnetic field sensors that allowed for more than a thousandfold increase in the storage capacity of magnetic disk drives that store ~70% of all digital data today. Just recently, after an almost 25-year exploration and development period, a high-performance, nonvolatile magnetic random-access memory, which uses magnetic tunnel junction memory elements, became commercially available. A novel spintronics memory-storage technology, magnetic racetrack memory, is on track to become the third major success of spintronics. Racetrack memory is a nonvolatile memory in which data is encoded in mobile chiral domain walls that are moved at high speeds by spin currents to-and-fro along synthetic antiferromagnetic racetracks. In this lecture, Dr. Parkin introduces the basic physics and, especially, the novel atomically engineered materials that make possible these three spintronic technologies.
The webcast will be aired live from the NAE website at www.nae.edu