The Importance of Cobalt Green and Gallium Arsenide in Spintronics

Pigment formulated 225 years ago could be key in emerging technologies. ‘Imagine turning on your computer and not having to wait for it to load the operating system, virus protection, firewalls and other programs. Imagine that random access memory is accessible immediately, like turning on room lights. That could be the reality of future devices that allow electrons to be manipulated by their magnetic properties as well as by their electrical charge. The ability to manipulate electrons’ magnetism, in addition to controlling their charge flow, has the potential to create broad new capabilities for computers and other devices and is the basis for an emerging technology called “spintronics.” A major barrier to creating such devices is finding nonvolatile magnetic semiconductor materials, ones that don’t demagnetize easily. So far the only materials found that meet the requirements operate only at a decidedly uncomfortable 200 degrees below zero Celsius, about minus 328 Fahrenheit. But now researchers at the University of Washington have demonstrated a material – a mixture of zinc oxide and cobalt first formulated in 1780 as a pigment called cobalt green – that appears capable of operating in more suitable environments and would allow electrons to be manipulated both electrically and magnetically.’

Spintronics specialists tailor GaAs with manganese. ‘Managanese-doped GaAs could lead to chips that can both manipulate and store data. A team of researchers from three US universities has manipulated GaAs using a scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) to create magnetic semiconductor material that could find a use in future spintronic devices.’

Wikipedia: Spintronics (spin-based electronics)

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