In "spintronics” no electrical charge is transported any more. Instead, the spin of electrons is used. They rotate around their own axis, generating a magnetic moment. They can take on two orientations, like a rod magnet with a North Pole and South Pole. In turn, these two states can be translated into the binary code with "0" and "1".
Siegfried Selberherr, Professor at the Institute for Microelectronics at the Vienna University of Technology, won a highly endowed advanced grant in 2010 from the European Research Council. This advanced grant was for the purpose of researching the electron spin for the processing and non-volatile storage of information. His team simulates nanoelectronic effects on the computer, designing new chip components for which patent applications were also submitted.
For Selberherr and his colleague Viktor Sverdlov, the decisive issues have been clarified. “Spintronics” is not some bold vision of the future like the quantum computer but “the next but one technology generation”. Several “spintronic” products are “already commercial available and are also being used in modern systems, for example storage chips for applications where alpha radiation is problematic, like in aircraft”, Selberherr says.