The spin, a quantum magnet
Not only is the electron both a particle and a quantum wave, but it also carries a kind of mini magnet called spin.
Like all the other quantum properties, the spin can only assume certain specific values, like a compass that could only point in certain directions! The spin is at the roots of magnetism and also helps us to understand the chemical bonds between atoms of matter. The spin is also used for hard disk drives and medical imaging.
In laboratory : Spintronics : the future of electronics ?
Electronics is currently based on the handling of electrical charges. Physicists have recently found a way to manipulate the spin of electrons : it is the birth of spintronics. From giant-magnetoresistance read-heads to new electronic components, spintronics might revolutionize our computers. Scientists have been developing it, where experiments mix quantum mechanics, nanosciences, and magnetism.
Practical application : Quantum magnets
We can find magnets on our fridges, in our speakers, our headphones, and our hard disks. We have been able to understand how they work thanks to quantum physics. The spins of electrons line up to create a South pole and a North pole. We now know how to manipulate these spins and make ultra-miniaturized magnets to produce higher-performance magnetic memory.