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Superconducting spintronics

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Abstract

Traditional studies that combine spintronics and superconductivity have mainly focused on the injection of spin-polarized quasiparticles into superconducting materials. However, a complete synergy between superconducting and magnetic orders turns out to be possible through the creation of spin-triplet Cooper pairs, which are generated at carefully engineered superconductor interfaces with ferromagnetic materials. Currently, there is intense activity focused on identifying materials combinations that merge superconductivity and spintronics to enhance device functionality and performance. The results look promising: it has been shown, for example, that superconducting order can greatly enhance central effects in spintronics such as spin injection and magnetoresistance. Here, we review the experimental and theoretical advances in this field and provide an outlook for upcoming challenges in superconducting spintronics.

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Figure 1: Cooper pair conversion from a spin-singlet state to a spin-triplet state and spin–charge separation in superconductors.
Figure 2: Applications of superconducting spintronics.
Figure 3: Recent experimental highlights for superconducting spintronics.

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Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge useful discussions with J. Aarts, M. Alidoust, M. Aprili, A. Balatsky, W. Belzig, F. Bergeret, A. Black-Schaffer, M. Blamire, A. Brataas, A. Buzdin, L. Cohen, M. Cuoco, M. Eschrig, F. Giazotto, G. Halász K. Halterman, I. Kulagina, O. Millo, J. Modera, N. Nagaosa, E. Scheer, A. Sudbø, Y. Tanaka and T. Yokoyama. J.L. was supported by the Research Council of Norway, Grants No. 205591 and 216700. J.W.A.R. was supported by the UK Royal Society and the Leverhulme Trust through an International Network Grant (IN-2013-033).

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J.L. and J.W.A.R. co-wrote the paper and contributed to all its aspects.

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Correspondence to Jacob Linder or Jason W. A. Robinson.

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Linder, J., Robinson, J. Superconducting spintronics. Nature Phys 11, 307–315 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/nphys3242

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