UA Professor Secures NSF Grant to Advance Spintronics Research

Desktop News | October 2023

Researchers at The University of Alabama were awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant as part of a multi-university semiconductor research program dedicated to revolutionizing electronics for data processing, communication and storage.

Under the support of the “Future of Semiconductors” (FuSe) program, Dr. Adam Hauser, an associate professor of physics and astronomy, is embarking on a pioneering investigation into a new class of spintronic materials. In spintronics, signals are transmitted down a line through changes in the “spin” of an electron, in a process known as spin transport.

One can imagine the spin transport process as passing along a message verbally down a long line, rather than the conventional approach of propelling the entire line forward. Instead of expending energy by pushing a multitude of electrons through a wire, which is the basis of our conventional charge-based electronics, the spintronic signal travels from one electron to another through magnetic interactions. This approach results in a significantly reduced energy requirement and enables operations at much higher speeds.

Dr. Hauser’s research is centered on a specific category of spintronic material known as a “spin gapless semiconductor.” These materials not only exhibit excellent spin transport properties but can also be finely tuned to suit the requirements of various devices, ensuring seamless integration into future technologies.

“The spin gapless semiconductor combines two important properties. A material with a high spin polarization will produce a more energy efficient spintronic device, but such materials are usually metallic, not semiconducting,” said Dr. Hauser. This creates a resistivity mismatch with surrounding semiconductor layers and a loss in device performance.  Spin gapless semiconductors, in contrast, have semiconductor-like electrical resistivity, so efficient spin injection and transport is possible, even at room temperature.”

In addition to its groundbreaking research, the FuSe project is dedicated to nurturing and developing the semiconductor workforce across all participating university campuses. This includes offering technical communication coursework and credentialing opportunities to further enhance the skills and expertise of future semiconductor professionals.

Dr. Hauser will collaborate with a diverse, multi-university team, which includes leading researchers from the University of Cincinnati, with Dr. Sarah Watzman as the Lead PI, and experts like Dr. Evgeny Mikheev and Dr. Melissa Jacquart, as well as researchers from the Illinois Institute of Technology (Dr. Heng Wang), Iowa State University (Dr. Qi An), and Northern Illinois University (Dr. Tao Li). This collaborative effort promises to revolutionize the field of electronics and shape the future of technology.

For more information on the research, visit .