Now, graphene becomes magnetic!

Now, graphene becomes magnetic!

A team, led by Prof Andre Geim, a recipient of the 2010 Nobel Prize for graphene, has shown that electric current -- a flow of electrons -- can magnetise graphene, the latest edition of the 'Science' journal reported.

According to the scientists, it could be a potentially huge breakthrough in the field of spintronics. Spintronics is a group of emerging technologies that exploit the intrinsic spin of the electron, in addition to its fundamental electric charge exploited in microelectronics.

The key feature for spintronics is to connect the electron spin to electric current as current can be manipulated by means routinely used in microelectronics. It is believed that, in future spintronics devices and transistors, coupling between the current and spin will be direct, without using magnetic materials to inject spins as it is done at the moment.

The scientists have found a new way to interconnect spin and charge by applying a relatively weak magnetic field to graphene and found that this causes a flow of spins in the direction perpendicular to electric current, making a graphene sheet magnetised.

"The holy grail of spintronics is the conversion of electricity into magnetism or vice versa. We offer a new mechanism, thanks to unique properties of graphene. I imagine that many venues of spintronics can benefit from this finding," Prof Geim said.