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Research Fellows Directory

Aires Ferreira

Dr Aires Ferreira

Research Fellow


University of York

Research summary

Materials science is in rapid development and could enable a technological revolution in the near future. Post-silicon transistors will most likely operate on the basis of new principles, running dramatically faster and using much less energy. A promising route is spintronics, a concept born in the late 1980s, in which the electron’s spin is the central actor. Here, the spin nature as a microscopic compass needle, with two possible states, pointing 'up' or 'down', is explored to encode dense and non-volatile information. While a stupendous development of spintronics in the 90s has underpinned modern hard drive and magnetic RAM technologies, the realisation of spin-based computation still awaits a more complete understanding of spin phenomena in solid-state systems. Further theoretical research is crucial to predict novel materials for efficient manipulation of the spin state of charge carriers in ambient conditions relevant for applications. In my research, I develop accurate models and calculations to describe the transport of spin currents in novel atomically thin materials, and their activation by electrical means. The project emphasis is on graphene, a strictly two-dimensional allotrope of carbon. The key idea is to utilise adatoms - atomic species adsorbed in graphene - as local hot spots for charge into spin current conversion. In this scheme, spin-up and spin-down electrons are pulled apart as they come under the influence of locally strong spin--orbit interactions mediated by the adatoms, thereby producing spin-polarised currents. The proposed scheme avoids magnetic components and benefits from graphene’s versatile nature as an atomically thin membrane.

Grants awarded

Spintronics in adatom decorated graphene

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Dates: Oct 2014 - Sep 2019

Value: £440,934.16