The first iPod was released with several tens of GB of storage, which at that point of time, could not be achieved by the semiconductor based. Title, How Spintronics Went from the Lab to the iPod. Publication Type, Journal Article. Year of Publication, Authors, McCray, P. W.. Journal, Nature. Download Citation on ResearchGate | From Lab to iPod: A Story of Discovery GMR also helped catalyze a new field of research known as “spintronics” and.

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By Peter Calamai Science Reporter. Instead, “spin” means each electron acts like a miniature magnet pointing either up or down.

How spintronics went from the lab to the iPod.

My Star location Select Location. The prizes, with the exception of economics, were established in the will of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel and are presented to the winners on Dec.

A professor at the Institute of Solid State Research in the city of Juelich in western Germany, Gruenberg benefited financially from the GMR discovery by getting a patent before publishing his results in the scientific literature.

When you use a computer or an MP3 player, you’re reaping the benefits of the scientific breakthrough two decades ago that yesterday brought the Nobel Prize in Physics to two European scientists. The underlying principle is called giant magnetoresistance GMR and experts agree that its discovery by the two researchers in fuelled the subsequent explosion of information technology, especially the continuing miniaturization of hard drives in iPods and laptops.


The GMR phenomenon takes advantage of a quantum characteristic of electrons that scientists call “spin” even though the electrons are not actually spinning like little tops.

How spintronics went from the lab to the iPod

The year-old Fert, however, quickly published his findings and so was unable to get a patent. By alternating ultra-thin layers of magnetic and non-magnetic material, Fert and Gruenberg produced giant magnetoresistance which greatly boosted this weak electrical signal. A researcher in this field of “spintronics,” Queen’s University physics professor Jim Stotz, said GMR was a scientific breakthrough because it used an electron’s spin for something practical, as opposed to simply research curiosity.

Copyright owned or licensed by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. But smaller areas produce weaker shifts in magnetism, meaning the tell-tale changes in electrical resistance become too faint to be detected by conventional technology. Asked if he’d thought his discovery would have such wide application, Fert told The Associated Press, “You can never predict in physics.

Their exotic lab technique was quickly simplified into a mass production process and the first disk-reading device based on GMR appeared on the market in spintonics This copy is for your personal non-commercial use only. In theory, more information could be crammed onto hard disks by shrinking the size of the magnetic areas where individual bits of data are stored in the form of 1s and 0s.


Gruenberg, 68, spent to in Canada in the chemistry department of Ottawa’s Ffrom University as a post-doctoral fellow sponsored by the National Research Spintronis. To order copies of Toronto Star articles, please go to: Canadian physicist Bret Heinrich, a long-time friend of both laureates, said their discovery demonstrated yet again that research sparked by scientific curiosity can produce breakthroughs in technology. Nobel prizes for chemistry, literature, peace and economics will be announced today through Oct.

A professor at B.

By manipulating the “spin” of electrons, scientists hope to come up with even more breakthroughs such as a new kind of random access memory for computers that’s blindingly fast but doesn’t die when the power is switched off, as conventional RAM now does.