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Manipulating spin and charge in magnetic semiconductors using superconducting vortices


The continuous need for miniaturization and increase in device speed1 drives the electronics industry to explore new avenues of information processing. One possibility is to use electron spin to store, manipulate and carry information2. All such ‘spintronics’ applications are faced with formidable challenges in finding fast and efficient ways to create, transport, detect, control and manipulate spin textures and currents. Here we show how most of these operations can be performed in a relatively simple manner in a hybrid system consisting of a superconducting film and a paramagnetic diluted magnetic semiconductor (DMS) quantum well. Our proposal is based on the observation that the inhomogeneous magnetic fields of the superconducting film create local spin and charge textures in the DMS quantum well, leading to a variety of effects such as Bloch oscillations and an unusual quantum Hall effect. We exploit recent progress in manipulating magnetic flux bundles (vortices) in superconductors3,4 and show how these can create, manipulate and control the spin textures in DMSs.

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Figure 1: Spin and charge textures created by SC vortices in a DMS.
Figure 2: Devices with tunable distance between spin-charge textures.
Figure 3: Band structure of the DMS in the hybrid system for an external magnetic field B0 = 0.07, 0.10, 0.15 and 0.19 T.
Figure 4: Hall conductivity σxy in units of e2/h, as a function of the magnetic field B and the charge carrier density n.


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We thank T. Wojtowicz and A. A. Abrikosov for discussions. This research was supported by NSERC and the Research Corporation (M.B.), by NSF NIRT (T.G.R. and B.J.) and by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (B.J.). We are grateful for the hospitality of the Argonne National Laboratory where parts of this work were carried out.

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Correspondence to Boldizsár Jankó.

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Supplementary Discussion

This file contains the Supplementary Discussion about the following: material issues; the single vortex case; manipulation of vortex-texture complexes; devices; one-dimensional line of vortices; and two-dimensional vortex lattice. The file also contains six Supplementary Figures: S1, a modulation-doped structure proposed for the DMS QW of the DMS-SC hybrid; S2, a spin-charge texture shuttle; S3, a spin-charge texture pump; (S4) scanning electron microscope image of a nano-engineered device; S5, a signal inverter; and S6, a majority gate. (PDF 344 kb)

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Berciu, M., Rappoport, T. & Jankó, B. Manipulating spin and charge in magnetic semiconductors using superconducting vortices. Nature 435, 71–75 (2005).

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