Spintronics studies the properties of the electron spin, with a view to improving the efficiency of electronic devices and to enrich them with new functionalities. This Nature Materials Insight provides a compact, yet comprehensive overview of a selection of topics that have rapidly developed in the past few years.



Spintronics p367

Fabio Pulizzi




New moves of the spintronics tango pp368 - 371

Jairo Sinova and Igor Žutić


The ability of spintronics to re-energize itself in directions that germinate new subfields has made it one of the most fertile grounds for basic research aimed at future applications. A brief overview of the connections between five emerging subfields suggests exciting things to come.


Review Articles

Current-induced torques in magnetic materials pp372 - 381

Arne Brataas, Andrew D. Kent and Hideo Ohno


Spin-transfer torque is the rotation that a spin-polarized current induces on the magnetization of the solid it flows through. The way in which currents generate torques in a wide variety of magnetic materials and structures is discussed in this Review, as well as recent state-of-the-art demonstrations of current-induced-torque devices that show great promise for enhancing the functionality of semiconductor devices.

Spin Hall effect devices pp382 - 390

Tomas Jungwirth, Jörg Wunderlich and Kamil Olejník


The spin Hall effect is a relativistic spin–orbit coupling phenomenon, which can be used to electrically generate or detect spin currents in non-magnetic systems. This Review discusses the experiments that have established the basic physical understanding of the effect, and the role that several of the spin Hall devices have had in the demonstration of spintronic functionalities and physical phenomena.

Spin caloritronics pp391 - 399

Gerrit E. W. Bauer, Eiji Saitoh and Bart J. van Wees


Spin caloritronics focuses on the interaction of electron spins with heat currents. This Review describes newly discovered physical effects that have re-invigorated the field by stimulating further research into understanding the fundamentals of spin–phonon interactions, and providing new avenues to explore to improve current thermoelectric technology.

Silicon spintronics pp400 - 408

Ron Jansen


Control of the electron spin as well as its charge is predicted to lead to efficient electronic devices, with potentially new functionalities. Injecting and manipulating spin-polarized carriers in silicon is a natural step towards integrating spintronics with current technology. This Review describes the first encouraging results as well as the open questions and challenges that still remain.


Progress Article

Spintronics and pseudospintronics in graphene and topological insulators pp409 - 416

Dmytro Pesin and Allan H. MacDonald


Graphene and topological insulator two-dimensional electron systems are described by massless Dirac equations. Although the two systems have similar Hamiltonians, they are polar opposites in terms of spin–orbit coupling strength. The status of efforts to achieve long spin-relaxation times in weakly spin–orbit-coupled graphene, and large current-induced spin-polarizations in strongly spin–orbit-coupled topological insulator surface states are reviewed in this Progress Article.


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