But physicists in Europe, California and at Ohio University now have found a way to manipulate the spin of an electron with a jolt of voltage from a battery, according to research findings published in the recent issue of the journal Physical Review Letters.
In the new study, scientists applied voltage to the electron in a quantum dot, which is a tiny, nanometer-sized semiconductor. The burst of power changed the direction of the electron's spin -- which can move either up or down. This also caused it to emit a small particle of light called a photon, explained Richard Warburton, a physicist with Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, and lead author on the new paper.
Usually you have no control over this at all an electron flips its spin at some point, and you scratch your head and wonder why it happened. But in our experiment, we can choose how long this process takes," he said.
The experiment was based on a theory by Sasha Govorov, an Ohio University associate professor of physics and astronomy who is co-author on the current paper. Pierre Petroff, a scientist with the University of California at Santa Barbara, contributed the semiconductor used in the experiment, Indium Arsenide, which commonly is used in electronics. "It's one of those happy collaborations -- Pierre has given us some fantastic material and Sasha has come up with some really smart ideas," Warburton said.
The scientists were able to manipulate how long it would take for the electron to flip its spin and emit a photon from one to 20 nanoseconds. But Govorov's theory suggests... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(2005, 05). Physics Chemistry. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 05, 2005, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Physics-Chemistry-59337.html
"Physics Chemistry" StudyMode.com. 05 2005. 05 2005 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Physics-Chemistry-59337.html>.
"Physics Chemistry." StudyMode.com. 05, 2005. Accessed 05, 2005. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Physics-Chemistry-59337.html.