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Humboldt Research Fellow Dr. Maciej Misiorny to work at PGI-2/IAS-3

October 2, 2012



Starting this October, Dr. Maciej Misiorny will join the Peter Grünberg Institute for the next two years as a research fellow sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. In the group of Prof. Maarten Wegewijs at the Institute for Theoretical Nanoelectronics (PGI-2/IAS-3), the physicist will investigate a new topic, the transport of spin-correlations, which may prove fundamental to the understanding and the development of spin-electronic devices made up of just a few atoms. In contrast to conventional electronics, spin-electronic devices use the quantum mechanical spin of the electron – instead of its charge – to store and process information. A key idea of spintronics is that like charge, spin can also “flow” and generate a “spin-current”.

Spintronics has contributed to the big success of modern day information technology, in particular hard-disk drive data storage. However, the quest for ever smaller and more efficient spin-electronic devices has turned researchers' attention toward individual magnetic molecules and atoms with the prospect of potential applications in information storage and processing technologies. A factor that may prohibit further progress is that such systems do much more than just store charge and spin; they additionally store various types of spin-correlations, for instance, by their magnetic anisotropy, which alters their operation completely. New design principles are therefore needed in order to use such atomic-sized systems. For example, a pilot study of Dr. Misiorny at the Peter Grünberg Institute has shown that spin-correlations allow one to amplify a spin-current using a system that – surprisingly –has no average spin itself.

Dr. Misiorny will theoretically investigate how spin-correlations can be experimentally probed and controlled in nanoscale spin-electronic devices. A central new concept is that spin-correlations can “flow” through nanoelectronic circuits, just like the spin does. To understand what the spin does in such systems, one needs, for instance, to account for magnetic anisotropy currents – a completely novel concept – which are in general independent of the above-mentioned spin-currents. This could furthermore provide a new way of generating quantum-mechanical entanglement required for quantum information processing.

Maciej Misiorny graduated in physics at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan (Poland) in 2006, and received his PhD in 2010. For his doctoral thesis ‘Charge and spin transport through magnetic molecules’ in 2011 he obtained the “Prime Minister of Poland Award”. Since September 2011, he has been working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Peter Grünberg Institute.