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Inverse spin Hall effect converts microwaves into energy

Posted: 21 Apr 2016 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:alternative energy? power conversion? microwave energy?

"Our study's goal was to show how to measure the inverse spin Hall effect in a 'straight forward' manner [that is] show a strong and directly observable inverse spin Hall effect with no or very little simple microwave induction effects and other signals," Boheme told EE Times. "We have achieved this by building devices and conducting experiments which make the inverse spin Hall effect about a 100 times stronger than what was previously seen and, at the same time, we accomplished the oppression of the spurious effects. So now we have devices on which we can easily observe this effect. For the near future, we (and probably other research groups as well) will use this progress to really study this effect in detail. Part of these studies will, of course, be aimed at the question of how well can this effect be used for potential technical applications."

 University of Utah physics lab

Figure 3: The University of Utah physics laboratory where researchers demonstrated the inverse spin Hall effect in several organic semiconductors when pulsed microwaves, which may find use in future generations of batteries, solar cells and mobile electronics. (Source: University of Utah, Christoph Boehme)

So the proof is still in the pudding, and these researchers have merely come up with a baseline recipe. It will up to them and othersin future experimentsto gauge the usefulness of the inverse spin Hall effect in future applications. Personally, I hope this ends up solving the "microwave overload" from communications towers that is slowing cooking everybody in their own juices, but if I had to bet, my money would be on small on-chip applications such as new spintronic devices for the ultra-low-power organic semiconductors of the future.

The researchers proved that the inverse spin Hall effect works in three organic semiconductors: PEDOT:PSS and in three platinum-rich organic polymers, two of which were pi-conjugated polymers and the other was spherical carbon-60 molecules (buckey balls) the latter of which proved to be the most efficient. For all the details see Inverse Spin Hall Effect from pulsed Spin Current in Organic Semiconductors with Tunable Spin-Orbit Coupling

Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the University of Utah's NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Centre. Other contributors were research assistant professors Dali Sun and Hans Malissa, postdoctoral researchers Kipp van Schooten and Chuang Zhang, and doctoral candidates Marzieh Kavand and Matthew Groesbeck.

- R. Colin Johnson
EE Times

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