Philosophical Society of Washington

A New Spin on Electronics

Stuart Wolf
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

2162nd Meeting Abstract
Friday, May 2, 2003 at 8:15 PM


This talk will focus on describing projects that are exploiting the spin degree of freedom of electrons for future generations of electronics. Spintronics, as this field has begun to be called, (this was the name of the original DARPA project) involves developing a host of new materials, devices and techniques that rely on the spin instead of the charge to store, manipulate and communicate information. There are several projects that have evolved from the original spintronics project to develop sensors and memory. These new projects are now exploring enhanced logic devices such as spin transistors and spin-FETs, spin optical devices like spin-LEDs and high speed optical switches and finally spin quantum devices for quantum computation and communication. I will describe where we are and where we hope to be at the end of the first decade of the 21st century.

About the Author:

Stu Wolf is currently both a Research Professor at the University of Virginia, and a consultant in the Defense Sciences Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). At DARPA he has conceived and initiated several projects on functional materials that have the goal of pushing the frontiers of materials science for electronics. These programs include: 1) "Spintronics" whose goal is the development of non-volatile, high density, high speed magnetic memory, and now has expanded to include Spins IN Semiconductors (SPINS) which hopes to develop a new paradigm in semiconductor electronics based on the spin degree of freedom of the electron in addition to or in place of the charge, 2) Quantum Information Science and Technology (QuIST) which aims to develop communication and computing systems and architectures based on the principles of quantum coherence and entanglement, and 3) Molecular Observation, Spectroscopy And Imaging using Cantilevers (MOSAIC) which has the goal of 3D imaging of molecules and nano-structures with atomic scale resolution. Dr. Wolf coined the term Spintronics in 1996.

He has an AB from Columbia College (1964) and an MS (1966) and PhD (1969) from Rutgers University. He was a Research Associate at Case Western Reserve University (1970-73) and a Visiting Scholar at UCLA (1981-82). He is a Fellow of the APS (1984), and was a Divisional Councilor for the Condensed Matter Division (1990-91) and is currently the Divisional Councilor for the Forum on Industrial and Applied Physics. He has authored or co-authored two books, over 300 articles, and has edited numerous conference proceedings.

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