Boron nitride nanotubes for spintronics

Kamal B. Dhungana, Michigan Technological University
Ranjit Pati, Michigan Technological University

© 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license ( Publisher’s version of record:


With the end of Moore’s law in sight, researchers are in search of an alternative approach to manipulate information. Spintronics or spin-based electronics, which uses the spin state of electrons to store, process and communicate information, offers exciting opportunities to sustain the current growth in the information industry. For example, the discovery of the giant magneto resistance (GMR) effect, which provides the foundation behind modern high density data storage devices, is an important success story of spintronics; GMR-based sensors have wide applications, ranging from automotive industry to biology. In recent years, with the tremendous progress in nanotechnology, spintronics has crossed the boundary of conventional, all metallic, solid state multi-layered structures to reach a new frontier, where nanostructures provide a pathway for the spin-carriers. Different materials such as organic and inorganic nanostructures are explored for possible applications in spintronics. In this short review, we focus on the boron nitride nanotube (BNNT), which has recently been explored for possible applications in spintronics. Unlike many organic materials, BNNTs offer higher thermal stability and higher resistance to oxidation. It has been reported that the metal-free fluorinated BNNT exhibits long range ferromagnetic spin ordering, which is stable at a temperature much higher than room temperature. Due to their large band gap, BNNTs are also explored as a tunnel magneto resistance device. In addition, the F-BNNT has recently been predicted as an ideal spin-filter. The purpose of this review is to highlight these recent progresses so that a concerted effort by both experimentalists and theorists can be carried out in the future to realize the true potential of BNNT-based spintronics.