Modern information technology
is based on semiconductors and ferromagnetic materials. Information is processed
in semiconductor transistors and integrated circuits while information is
stored magnetically on high density hard disk drives. Spin electronics is
a rapidly evolving research field, which aims to combine ferromagnets with
semiconductors to develop spintronic devices that exploit the quantum mechanical
'spin' of electrons as well as their 'charge'. One goal is to integrate
information processing with information storage. A broader goal is to develop
new functionality that does not exist in a ferromagnet or in a semiconductor
separately. In a long term perspective spin electronic devices might even
be used for future quantum information processing.
A crucial requirement
for spintronic devices is the electrical spin injection into a semiconductor.
Here, diluted magnetic semiconductors, e.g. GaMnAs, or lattice matched metallic
ferromagnetic layers are promising candidates. Another important aspect
concerning the realization of spinelectronic structures are the spin lifetime
and the possibility of spin manipulation.
The Virtual Institute
of Spin Electronics (VISel) is devoted to explore both the technological
and fundamental physical basics which help to establish design rules for
spintronic devices based on GaN and its related ternary compounds. The research
in spintronics has merged from more or less independent areas of solid state
physics, i.e. semiconductor physics and magnetism. The complex physical
and technological tasks can only be addressed and solved in a combined effort
and close collaboration of research groups with complementary competence
and resources in semiconductor physics as well as in magnetism. The research
groups participating in the Virtual Institute have long standing expertise
in all aspects of the required tasks.