Industrial dye to boost spintronics?

A team from the London Centre for Nanotechnology – a joint venture between Imperial College London and University College London – and the University of Warwick has won a £2.5million Basic Technology grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to find ways to advance the science of spintronics.

Spintronics is thought to be an enabling technology for a range of future applications, including quantum computing. The grant will support research into the magnetic properties of metal atoms found in industrial dyes, such as metal phthalocyanine (MPc). Spintronics focuses on storing, processing and receiving information by using magnetic fields, electrical currents, light and microwaves to control the spin of electrons. In order to advance spintronics, say the researchers, materials which combine both magnetic and semiconducting properties need to be found. The researchers believe that MPc holds the answer and aim to exploit the spin inherent in its metal atoms. Previous research carried out by this team has already demonstrated that spins in MPc can interact and these interactions can be switched – such switching is the first step towards use in information storage and logic operations.