All-electric all-semiconductor spin field-effect transistors

Nature Nanotechnology 10, 35 (2015).
doi:10.1038/nnano.2014.296

Authors: Pojen Chuang, Sheng-Chin Ho, L. W. Smith, F. Sfigakis, M. Pepper, Chin-Hung Chen, Ju-Chun Fan, J. P. Griffiths, I. Farrer, H. E. Beere, G. A. C. Jones, D. A. Ritchie & Tse-Ming Chen

The spin field-effect transistor envisioned by Datta and Das opens a gateway to spin information processing. Although the coherent manipulation of electron spins in semiconductors is now possible, the realization of a functional spin field-effect transistor for information processing has yet to be achieved, owing to several fundamental challenges such as the low spin-injection efficiency due to resistance mismatch, spin relaxation and the spread of spin precession angles. Alternative spin transistor designs have therefore been proposed, but these differ from the field-effect transistor concept and require the use of optical or magnetic elements, which pose difficulties for incorporation into integrated circuits. Here, we present an all-electric and all-semiconductor spin field-effect transistor in which these obstacles are overcome by using two quantum point contacts as spin injectors and detectors. Distinct engineering architectures of spin–orbit coupling are exploited for the quantum point contacts and the central semiconductor channel to achieve complete control of the electron spins (spin injection, manipulation and detection) in a purely electrical manner. Such a device is compatible with large-scale integration and holds promise for future spintronic devices for information processing.