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Nat Mater. 2011 Oct;10(10):737-41. doi: 10.1038/nmat3099.

Long-range spin Seebeck effect and acoustic spin pumping.


Imagine that a metallic wire is attached to a part of a large insulator, which itself exhibits no magnetization. It seems impossible for electrons in the wire to register where the wire is positioned on the insulator. Here we found that, using a Ni₈₁Fe₁₉/Pt bilayer wire on an insulating sapphire plate, electrons in the wire recognize their position on the sapphire. Under a temperature gradient in the sapphire, surprisingly, the voltage generated in the Pt layer is shown to reflect the wire position, although the wire is isolated both electrically and magnetically. This non-local voltage is due to the coupling of spins and phonons: the only possible carrier of information in this system. We demonstrate this coupling by directly injecting sound waves, which realizes the acoustic spin pumping. Our finding provides a persuasive answer to the long-range nature of the spin Seebeck effect, and it opens the door to 'acoustic spintronics' in which sound waves are exploited for constructing spin-based devices.


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