A third application that was reported on is the possibility of using silicene as a source of a special type of electrons for the promising field of spintronics, which is a fascinating way of transmitting information using the spin, rather than the charge, of electrons; and, if realized, should revolutionize information technology.

An electron carries both electric charge and spin; hence, it makes sense to kill two birds with one stone by taking advantage of the spin as well as the charge. Unfortunately, while the electric charge of an electron cannot be changed, the spin of the electron can orient in a variety of directions. “Spin up” can be used to represent a binary digit (e.g., “1”) and “spin down” can be used to represent a “0”. On the one hand, preserving the information means one needs to be able to isolate the spin state of the electron over a certain distance – this remains a challenge.

Silicene, on the other hand, is now reported as being an excellent material for at least producing electrons in a well-defined spin state. This work was reported by a Taiwanese group.

April 7, 2013