Conference paper

Spintronics: Conceptual Building Blocks

The purpose of this introduction to spintronics is to provide some elementary description of its conceptual building blocks. Thus, it is intended for a newcomer to the field. After recalling rudimentary descriptions of spin precession and spin relaxation, spin-dependent transport is treated within the Boltzmann formalism. This suffices to introduce key notions such as the spin asymmetry of the conductivities in the two-current model, the spin diffusion length, and spin accumulation. Two basic mechanisms of spin relaxation are then presented, one arising from spin orbit scattering and the other from electron-magnon collisions. Finally, the action of a spin-polarized current on magnetization is presented in a thermodynamics framework. This introduces the notion of spin torque and the characteristic length scale over which the transverse spin polarization of conduction electron decays as it is injected into a magnet.


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