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Green and sustainable voltage generators, which feed electric currents into electronic circuits by utilizing waste heat, are possible thanks to thermoelectric energy harvesting. In this proposal, we plan to develop the spintronic equivalent of thermoelectric energy harvesting, that is spin generators based on non-magnetic materials that are charged by waste heat and can be used to feed spin currents into spintronics circuits. The microscopic mechanisms of our spin generators charged by heat operates in the diffusive regime, hence in principle also at room temperature. Our materials of choice are Van der Waals dichalcogenides (VdWDs), which combine remarkable thermoelectric power factors, comparable with values of commercial thermoelectrics, and very large spin-orbit coupling. The former property allows efficient conversion of thermal gradients into diffusion currents of electrons, while the latter property allows efficient conversion of longitudinal electric currents into transverse spin currents. In addition, within the platform of VdWDs, possibility of intercalation, solid solutions or hetero-stacking, as well as presence of multiphasic compounds with varied electronic and spin properties, offers the opportunity of tuning the microscopic mechanisms under investigation and design integrated multifunctional circuits for electronics and spintronics.

Main objective 

The project is structured into two stages, with specific aims:

  1. identification of the most promising VdWDs in terms of thermoelectricity and charge-to-spin conversion, by combined theoretical predictions and experimental measurements; 
  2. design, fabrication and demonstration of operation of spin polarized generators based on non-magnetic VdWDs, charged by heat, and final evaluation of their application potential.

Coordinator: Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche

Partners: University of Cagliari, Polytechnic of Milan (subcontractor)

IMM Contact person: Raimondo Cecchini

Funder under: Italian Ministry of University and Research, PRIN 2022 call

Project Link: www.subli.spin.cnr.it/

2023-09-28 to 2025-09-28