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We have proposed a spintronic infrared photodetector backed by experimental evidence and matched with theoretical prediction obtained in our labs. Unlike conventional photodetectors, it can work at room temperature with ideally infinite light-to-dark contrast ratio, infinite detectivity and zero dark current. The proposed idea is based on smart implementation of spin polarized transport. Electrons while travelling through one-dimensional channel show long spin relaxation length if they can be confined to a single conduction subband because of the elimination of major spin relaxation mechanism, namely the D’yakonov-Perel’ mechanism. With infrared light, electrons can be excited to higher subbands, resulting in the revival of DP mechanism which shortens the spin relaxation length. A noticeable change in current in a nanowire spin-valve (a semiconductor nanowire with two ferromagnetic contacts) can be observed due to this shortening and this phenomenon can be manipulated to implement infrared photo-detection. An array of tri-layer nanowires have been fabricated using electrodeposition where a narrow band semiconductor InSb has been sandwiched between two ferromagnetic contacts, Cobalt and Nickel. The two magnetic contacts act as spin injector and detector, where in the InSb layer, spin polarization is modulated using infrared light. The spin-valve effect and the Hanle effect have been demonstrated in these structures, which gives the confidence that the proposed device is indeed capable of injecting, coherently transporting and detecting spin of the electrons at room temperature even in the presence of thermal drift, background magnetoresistance, low spin injection and detection efficiency. When the same experiment was done under the infrared light, spin-valve effect was still there but muted, which means, infrared light is responsible weakening the spin polarization of carriers in the InSb layer. With choice of other materials, which show better spin injection and detection efficiency, the detectivity and sensitivity can be made more prominent.
Spin Valve, Hanle Effect, Coherent transport, IR detection
Electrical and Electronics | Nanotechnology Fabrication
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VCU Graduate Research Posters