Prof. Dr. Albert Fert, Nobelpreis für Physik 2007 (Unité Mixte de Physique CNRS-Thales, Palaiseau and Université Paris-Sud, France)
Classical spintronic devices use the exchange interaction between conduction electron spins and local spins in magnetic materials to create spin-polarized currents or to manipulate nanomagnets by spin transfer from spin-polarized currents. A novel direction of spintronics
that I call spin-orbitronics- exploits the Spin-Orbit Coupling (SOC) in nonmagnetic materials instead of the exchange interaction in magnetic materials to generate or detect spin- polarized currents. This opens the way to spin devices made of only nonmagnetic materials and operated without magnetic fields. Spin-orbit coupling can also be used to create new types of topological magnetic objects as the magnetic skyrmions or the Dzyaloshinskii- Moriya domain walls. I will review recent advances in two directions of this field.
Nucleation, current-induced motion and pinning of individual skyrmions or trains of skyrmions in nanostructures: I will focus on skyrmions induced in thin magnetic films by Dzyaloshinsky-Moriya interactions at their interface with materials of large spin-orbit coupling and discuss their potential for applications.
Conversion between charge and spin current by SOC(Spin Hall Effect and Edelstein Effect): I will describe recent experiments and applications to the current-induced motion of magnetic domain walls andthe switching of nanomagnets.