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Magnet Lab and Korean institute collaborate on spintronics

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The Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) and MIT's Francis Bitter Magnet Laboratory have launched a 10-year program in spintronics, a field that could lead to new ways for storing and communicating information.

Today's electronics are based on the charge of electrons, or the flow of current. But electrons also have spin. "This magnetic property could be used very effectively for storing information and also for communications," said Jagadeesh Moodera, a senior research scientist at the Magnet Lab and the program's principal investigator from MIT.

Enter spintronics, the study of this phenomenon. "In the future we'd like to use spin as well as charge in electronic devices," Moodera said. "This could provide an additional channel of information as well as an additional degree of freedom for designing novel devices." He noted that there has been an enormous interest of late in nano-devices based on spin transport.

Moodera's group has been carrying out cutting-edge research in spintronics for more than 10 years. His counterpart in the KIST-MIT collaboration is Hijung Kim, director of KIST's Nano Spintronics Program.

The new collaboration should jumpstart the field by combining each institution's expertise and technologies in the creation of new spintronic materials and the development of spintronic elements. KIST has strengths in process technology in spintronic elements, and MIT provides the underlying science and design technology in spintronic materials.

An initial three-year joint project, "Nanospintronic Science and Devices," will be funded at the rate of $300,000 a year by KIST.

Youseung Kim, president of KIST, said, "The joint research agreement carries great significance in that we have now secured research cooperation with MIT, a world-renowned, top-notch research institution, in a key research field based on our own accumulated knowledge and expertise."

Based on the long-term joint research with the Magnet Lab, KIST hopes that it will be able to acquire fundamental technologies at an early date, attract key scientists, gather technological information and actively implement technology transfer and introduction.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 8, 2004 (download PDF).

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