Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Observation of the spin Seebeck effect


The generation of electric voltage by placing a conductor in a temperature gradient is called the Seebeck effect1,2. Its efficiency is represented by the Seebeck coefficient, S, which is defined as the ratio of the generated electric voltage to the temperature difference, and is determined by the scattering rate and the density of the conduction electrons. The effect can be exploited, for example, in thermal electric-power generators and for temperature sensing, by connecting two conductors with different Seebeck coefficients, a device called a thermocouple1,2. Here we report the observation of the thermal generation of driving power, or voltage, for electron spin: the spin Seebeck effect. Using a recently developed spin-detection technique that involves the spin Hall effect3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14, we measure the spin voltage generated from a temperature gradient in a metallic magnet. This thermally induced spin voltage persists even at distances far from the sample ends, and spins can be extracted from every position on the magnet simply by attaching a metal. The spin Seebeck effect observed here is directly applicable to the production of spin-voltage generators, which are crucial for driving spintronic15,16,17,18 devices. The spin Seebeck effect allows us to pass a pure spin current19, a flow of electron spins without electric currents, over a long distance. These innovative capabilities will invigorate spintronics research.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: The spin Seebeck effect.
Figure 2: Experimental set-up.
Figure 3: Measurements of electromotive force.
Figure 4: Dependence on magnetic field angle and position of Pt wire.


  1. Ashcroft, N. W. & Mermin, N. D. Solid State Physics 253–258 (Saunders College, 1976)

    Google Scholar 

  2. Maekawa, S. et al. Physics of Transition Metal Oxides 323–331 (Springer, 2004)

    Book  Google Scholar 

  3. Dyakonov, M. I. & Perel, V. I. Current-induced spin orientation of electrons in semiconductors. Phys. Lett. A 35, 459–460 (1971)

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  4. Hirsch, J. E. Spin Hall effect. Phys. Rev. Lett. 83, 1834–1837 (1999)

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Takahashi, S. & Maekawa, S. Hall effect induced by a spin-polarized current in superconductors. Phys. Rev. Lett. 88, 116601 (2002)

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Murakami, S., Nagaosa, N. & Zhang, S.-C. Dissipationless quantum spin current at room temperature. Science 301, 1348–1351 (2003)

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Sinova, J. et al. Universal intrinsic spin Hall effect. Phys. Rev. Lett. 92, 126603 (2004)

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  8. Kato, Y. K., Myers, R. C., Gossard, A. C. & Awschalom, D. D. Observation of the spin Hall effect in semiconductors. Science 306, 1910–1913 (2004)

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Wunderlich, J., Kaestner, B., Sinova, J. & Jungwirth, T. Experimental observation of the spin-Hall effect in a two-dimensional spin-orbit coupled semiconductor system. Phys. Rev. Lett. 94, 047204 (2005)

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Saitoh, E., Ueda, M., Miyajima, H. & Tatara, G. Conversion of spin current into charge current at room temperature: Inverse spin-Hall effect. Appl. Phys. Lett. 88, 182509 (2006)

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  11. Valenzuela, S. O. & Tinkham, M. Direct electronic measurement of the spin Hall effect. Nature 442, 176–179 (2006)

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Kimura, T., Otani, Y., Sato, T., Takahashi, S. & Maekawa, S. Room-temperature reversible spin Hall effect. Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 156601 (2007)

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Seki, T. et al. Giant spin Hall effect in perpendicularly spin-polarized FePt/Au devices. Nature Mater. 7, 125–129 (2008)

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Takahashi, S. & Maekawa, S. Spin current in metals and superconductors. J. Phys. Soc. Jpn 77, 031009 (2008)

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  15. Wolf, S. A. et al. Spintronics: a spin-based electronics vision for the future. Science 294, 1488–1495 (2001)

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Žutić, I., Fabian, J. & Das Sarma, S. Spintronics: fundamentals and applications. Rev. Mod. Phys. 76, 323–410 (2004)

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  17. Maekawa, S. (ed.) Concepts in Spin Electronics (Oxford Univ. Press, 2006)

    Book  Google Scholar 

  18. Chappert, C., Fert, A. & Van Dau, F. N. The emergence of spin electronics in data storage. Nature Mater. 6, 813–823 (2007)

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. Slonczewski, J. C. Conductance and exchange coupling of two ferromagnets separated by a tunneling barrier. Phys. Rev. B 39, 6995–7002 (1989)

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Valet, T. & Fert, A. Theory of the perpendicular magnetoresistance in magnetic multilayers. Phys. Rev. B 48, 7099–7113 (1993)

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  21. Cadeville, M. C. & Roussel, J. Thermoelectric power and electronic structure of dilute alloys of nickel and cobalt with d transition elements. J. Phys. F 1, 686–710 (1971)

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Gravier, L., Serrano-Guisan, S., Reuse, F. & Ansermet, J.-P. Thermodynamic description of heat and spin transport in magnetic nanostructures. Phys. Rev. B 73, 024419 (2006)

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  23. Tsyplyatyev, O., Kashuba, O. & Fal’ko, V. I. Thermally excited spin current and giant magnetothermopower in metals with embedded ferromagnetic nanoclusters. Phys. Rev. B 74, 132403 (2006)

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  24. Hatami, M., Bauer, G. E. W., Zhang, Q.-F. & Kelly, P. J. Thermal spin-transfer torque in magnetoelectronic devices. Phys. Rev. Lett. 99, 066603 (2007)

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  25. Bass, J. & Pratt, W. P. Spin-diffusion lengths in metals and alloys, and spin-flipping at metal/metal interfaces: an experimentalist’s critical review. J. Phys. Condens. Matter 19, 183201 (2007)

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  26. Callen, H. B. Thermodynamics Ch. 17 (Wiley, 1960)

    MATH  Google Scholar 

  27. Hirohata, A., Xu, Y. B., Guertler, C. M., Bland, J. A. C. & Holmes, S. N. Spin-polarized electron transport in ferromagnet/semiconductor hybrid structures induced by photon excitation. Phys. Rev. B 63, 104425 (2001)

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  28. Jedema, F. J., Filip, A. T. & van Wees, B. J. Electrical spin injection and accumulation at room temperature in an all-metal mesoscopic spin valve. Nature 410, 345–348 (2001)

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors thank Y. Suzuki, S. E. Barnes, Y. Fujitani, G. Tatara, K. M. Itoh, H. Kuwahara and M. Matoba for discussions. This work was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research in Priority Area ‘Creation and control of spin current’ (19048028) from MEXT, Japan, a Grant-in-Aid for Encouragement of Young Scientists (A) from MEXT, Japan, the global COE for the ‘High-level global cooperation for leading-edge platform on access spaces’ from MEXT, Japan, a Strategic Information and Communications R&D Promotion Programme from MIC, Japan, and the Next Generation Supercomputing Project of Nanoscience Program from IMS, Japan.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to E. Saitoh.

PowerPoint slides

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Uchida, K., Takahashi, S., Harii, K. et al. Observation of the spin Seebeck effect. Nature 455, 778–781 (2008).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing