Helping to develop a mastery of spintronics
Modern advances in electronics and materials science are being driven by discoveries at the nanoscale which is only one billionth of a metre in size. This is the realm in which Dr. Alexander Moewes, Canada Research Chair in Materials Science using Synchrotron Radiation, is studying the behaviour of molecules and atoms to explore their electronic properties.
Moewes is using the extraordinary sensitivity of the Canadian Light Source synchrotron in Saskatoon, which creates beams of light that are millions of times brighter than sunlight and acts as a "super microscope." This allows him to examine how materials are bound together at the molecular level and to determine whether they are good candidates for semiconductors in extreme environments.
Moewes is also pushing into the exciting new field of spintronics, which tries to control how electrons spin and to use that spin to store information. A mastery of spintronics will dramatically increase the processing speed and storage capacity of computers. But to reach this tantalizing goal, researchers must first work out how to manufacture semiconductor materials with the right magnetic properties.
It’s a daunting task, but Moewes’ research on the nature of magnetism in spintronic semiconductors could soon lead to spintronics becoming a household word.