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Researchers make elusive discovery and capture prestigious AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize

"Receiving the Newcomb Cleveland Award in 1990 was the first important public acknowledgment of our invention," said Fodor. "Today, the award remains one of our most valued. Affymetrix is thrilled to support it continued legacy. It is important to recognize and encourage the innovative work of new scientists as their work will become the foundation for future research and discovery."

In 1879, Edward Hall placed a thin layer of gold in a strong magnetic field, connected a battery to the opposite sides of this film, and measured the current flowing through it. He discovered that a small voltage appeared across this film that was proportional to the strength of magnetic field multiplied by the current. In 1971, two Russian physicists predicted that a similar effect could be expected in spin physics, but the spin Hall effect defied experimental detection for 33 years.

The Hall effect did not find practical application until the second half of the 20th century when it was used to mass-produce semiconductor chips, and today it is widely used in sensors and electronics. The research team at UC, Santa Barbara first discovered the signatures of the spin Hall effect in semiconductor chips made from gallium arsenide, which is similar to those used in cell phones, and also studied the effect in samples made from indium gallium arsenide. Although the practical applications of this team's discovery are yet unknown, they may arise in sensing technologies, quantum computing and quantum communication.


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Contact: Lonnie Shekhtman
lshekhtm@aaas.org
202-326-6434
American Association for the Advancement of Science
15-Feb-2006


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