Researcher from Japan's Advanced Science Research Center, the Atomic Energy Agency and the National Institute for Materials Science developed a way to detect the electronic spin state of graphene contacted to a magnetic metal, using a spin-polarized metastable helium beam.

Detecting the spin state of graphene is difficult because of the weak signal from the graphene compared to the strong signal of the magnetic substrate it sits on, and this new achievement is important if graphene is to be used as a Spintronics material.

The researchers also found out that in conduction electrons of graphene contacted to nickel, spin polarization occurs with the same orientation as the spin of the nickel.

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