Stuart Parkin How Can Spintronic Devices Be Built to Improve Computing Capacity?

Stuart Parkin is Director of the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics in Halle/Salle, Germany and Professor at the Institute of Physics of the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. He is also an IBM Fellow (IBM’s highest technical honor) and a Consulting Professor in the Department of Applied Physics at Stanford University. Parkin’s research interest lies in the field of material sciences where he currently focusses on applied spintronics. Parkin is known for his work on the giant magneto-resistance effect, for which he was awarded the American Physical Society’s James C. McGroddy Prize for New Materials and the Hewlett-Packard Europhysics Prize together with Peter Grünberg and Albert Fert. His achievements have been recognized with a lot of international awards as well as several guest professorships. Parkin is Honorary Professor at the University College London and a Fellow at several Academies of Sciences, including the Royal Society London and National Academy of Sciences, USA.

Area of Research

Spintronics, Nanotechnology, Giant Magnetoresistance (GMR Effect), Storage Media, Computer Hard Disc Drives, Racetrack Memory

since 2014

Director and Scientific Member

Max Planck Society (more details)

Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics

since 2014

Alexander von Humboldt Professor

Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg (Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg)

since 2014

Consulting Professor

Stanford University



Stanford University

Spintronic Science and Applications Center (SpinAps)


Head of Magneto‐Electronics

IBM Almaden Research Center



IBM Almaden Research Center


Distinguished Visiting Professor



Distinguished Visiting Professor

University of Eindhoven


Distinguished Visiting Professor

National University of Singapore


IBM World Trade Fellow

IBM Almaden Research Center


Royal Society European Exchange Fellow

Paris-Sud University

Laboratoire de Physique des Solides



University of Cambridge

Cavendish Laboratory


Research Fellow

University of Cambridge

Trinity College


BSc in Physics and Theoretical Physics

University of Cambridge


- Millennium Technology Prize, Technology Academy Finland (2014)

- Honorary Doctorate, Technische Universität Kaiserslautern (2013)

- Swan Medal, Institute of Physics, London (2013)

- Von Hippel Award, Materials Research Society (2012)

- David Adler Lectureship Award, American Physical Society (2012)

- Honorary Doctorate, Universität Regensburg (2011)

- IUPAP Magnetism Prize and Louis Neel Medal (2009)

- Dresden Barkhausen Award (2009)

- Honorary Professor, University College London, UK (2009)

- IEEE Daniel E. Noble Award (2008)

- Gutenberg Research Award (2008)

- Honorary Doctorate, Technical University Eindhoven, Netherlands (2008)

- Honorary Doctorate, RWTH Aachen (2007)

- Humboldt Research Prize (2004)

- Prize for Industrial Applications of Physics, American Institute of Physics (AIP) (1999-2000)

- Europhysics Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Solid State Physics (1997)

- International Prize for New Materials,American Physical Society (1994)

- Charles Vernon Boys Prize from the Institute of Physics, London (1991)

- MRS Outstanding Young Investigator Award (1991)


- Member, German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (since 2015)

- Honorary Fellow, Indian Academy of Sciences (2012)

- Fellow, World Academy of Sciences (2012)

- Fellow, Gutenberg‐Forschungskolleg, Johannes Gutenberg‐Universität Mainz (2011)

- Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2009)

- Member, US‐National Academy of Sciences (since 2008)

- Fellow, Royal Society, UK (2000)

- IBM Fellow (since 1999)

© Maximilian Dörrbecker

Max Planck Society

"The Max Planck Society is Germany's most successful research organization. Since its establishment in 1948, no fewer than 18 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists, putting it on a par with the best and most prestigious research institutions worldwide. The more than 15,000 publications each year in internationally renowned scientific journals are proof of the outstanding research work conducted at Max Planck Institutes – and many of those articles are among the most-cited publications in the relevant field." (Source)


Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics

Experimental and theoretical research carried out at the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics is primarily focussed on solid state phenomena that are determined by small dimensions and surfaces and interfaces. The investigations concentrate on establishing relations between the magnetic, electronic, optical, and mechanical properties of solids and their microstructure. Thin films and surfaces are investigated as well as nanocrystalline materials, phase boundaries and defects in bulk crystals. The results of the research will provide the necessary information for creating new and improved functional or structural materials in application areas such as sensorics, opto- and microelectronics. (Source)


The silicon-based technology that is used today to access and compute information is reaching its limits. To further improve computing capacity, this essentially two-dimensional technology, as STUART PARKIN puts it, needs to give way to the three-dimensional approach of spintronic devices that use not only electric current but also the spin of the electrons. In this video, he explains how the research team created a new type of storage device. It consists of billions of so-called race tracks which are essentially vertical columns of magnetic material in which tiny magnetic regions representing zeros and ones are stored. These can be manipulated using a current of spin polarized electrons that can move information up and down these race tracks. During the last three to four years, the researchers discovered four distinct new physical phenomena that enable them to move the magnetic regions in these racetracks extremely efficiently with current pulses. This could pave the way to solid-state devices with about one hundred times the capacity of today's solid-state drives because of the three-dimensional nature of this new concept that is entirely derived from the new physics of spintronics.

LT Video Publication DOI:

Suppression of Metal-Insulator Transition in VO2 by Electric Field–Induced Oxygen Vacancy Formation

  • Jaewoo Jeong, Nagaphani Aetukuri, Tanja Graf, Thomas D. Schladt, Mahesh G. Samant and Stuart S. P. Parkin
  • Science
  • Published in 2013
Jaewoo Jeong, Nagaphani Aetukuri, Tanja Graf, Thomas D. Schladt, Mahesh G. Samant and Stuart S. P. Parkin. "Suppression of Metal-Insulator Transition in VO2 by Electric Field–Induced Oxygen Vacancy Formation." Science 339, 6126 (2013): 1405.