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ICMAB hosted the first school on "Orbital currents in solids"

01 December 2023

From 30 November - 1 December 2023 the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC) hosted a new school within the ICMAB Series of Schools on Frontiers in Materials Science and Condensed Matter. A school on ORBITRONICS, the latest twist on understanding and exploiting angular momentum transport in solids.


control of the charge flow in electronic devices has been the mainstay for data storage and computing since the middle of the last century. Remarkably, information technologies have witnessed further progress over the last two decades, based on the understanding and control of spin transport in solids, which has given rise to disruptive spintronics that allows more efficient and non-volatile data storage and logic functionalities. Particularly, charge-spin conversion and its reciprocal effect, both relying on spin-orbit coupling, have led to new opportunities for possibly more efficient ways of controlling spin flow and magnetization.

Therefore, spintronics developments have focused on the spins of electrons. However, electrons in atoms and solids have both spin and angular momentum. Therefore, a natural question is whether we can exploit the angular momentum flow in an analogous manner that we control charge or spin momentum.

This is the essence of ORBITRONICS. Angular momentum flow has been elusive for decades and only in recent years the field is receiving a strong attention. Experimental results and models convincingly suggest new opportunities for orbital currents, that knock at the very heart of our understanding of atomic and solid state physics. Probably, the ultimate mechanisms behind orbital current generation and exploitation are yet to be discovered and in many ways their properties are yet to be fully explored. Therefore, it is a great and exciting opportunity to learn and understand the basis of the intriguing orbital currents: from the simplest atomic orbital physics, to the more intricate electronic band structure effects, and on how spin and orbital properties evolve from equilibrium to the non-equilibrium in the presence of charge flow. Dedicated sessions on experimental approaches to observe orbital currents are also included.

The short course aims to provide clues for understanding to newcomers to the field. Its contents is intended to be self-contained to allow a smooth progression of understanding. A hands-on last session should allow attendants to see how some experiments are carried out and observe some fingerprints of orbital currents.

To attend the ORBITAL CURRENTS 2023 Severo Ochoa ICMAB School participants should register as indicated. The school will be hybrid: both in-person and online registrations are open.