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Nanoelectronic Devices, With an Introduction to Spintronics

By Supriyo Datta1, Mark Lundstrom1

1. Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN



Published on





Nanoelectronic devices are at the heart of today's powerful computers and are also of great interest for many emerging applications including energy conversion, sensing and alternative computing paradigms. Our objective, however, is not to discuss specific devices or applications. Rather it is to convey the conceptual framework that has emerged over the last twenty years for understanding current flow on an atomic scale. This is important not only for the design of novel nanoscale devices, but also for the conceptual insights it affords into some of the long-standing questions of transport theory and quantum physics

Lecture Notes for Datta Lectures

The Datta lectures for this course are for the most part chalkboard lectures. A select number of slides were projected during the lectures. These slides are provided as a collective set of notes.


Lecture Notes 1a, 2-6 and discussions


Part 1: Bottom-up view of nanodevices

Historically our understanding of current flow has progressed from large resistors to molecular conductors and this top-down development is reflected in the standard approach. Here we describe an alternative bottom-up approach that is not only pedagogically effective but also provides a unique perspective that even seasoned researchers may find useful:


Lecture 1a: Atom to Transistor: A semiclassical view

Lecture 1b: Nanotransistors: A Bottom-up view

Lecture 2: Quantum of Conductance: Resistance and uncertainty

Discussion Session 1


Part II: Nanoscale energy conversion

Converting heat into electricity is an important practical problem and its relation to the second law of thermodynamics is of fundamental significance. The bottom-up approach provides a clear perspective on both:


Lecture 3: Introduction to NEGF

Lecture 4: Bottom-up Approach to Thermoelectricity

Discussion Session 2


Part III: "Spin Transistors" and beyond

Recent experiments in nanodevices involving the spin of electrons not only raise the possibility of new paradigms for information processing but also shed light on the subtleties of the quantum world and how it transitions to the everyday macroscopic world.


Lecture 5: Electron Spin: How to rotate an electron to control the current

Lecture 6: From Spins to Magnets: How quantum objects turn classical

Discussion Session 3



Supriyo Datta received his B.Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur, India in 1975 and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1979. In 1981, he joined Purdue University, where he is (since 1999) the Thomas Duncan Distinguished Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He started his career in the field of ultrasonics and was selected by the Ultrasonics group as its outstanding young engineer to receive an IEEE Centennial Key to the Future Award and by the ASEE to receive the Terman Award for his book on Surface Acoustic Wave Devices. Since 1985 he has focused on current flow in nanoscale electronic devices and is well-known for his contributions to spin electronics and molecular electronics. Datta's most important contribution, however, is the approach his group has pioneered for the description of quantum transport far from equilibrium, combining the non-equlibrium Green function (NEGF) formalism of many-body physics with the Landauer formalism from mesoscopic physics as described in his books Electronic Transport in Mesoscopic Systems (Cambridge, 1995), and Quantum Transport: Atom to Transistor (Cambridge, 2005). Datta's unique approach to the problem of quantum transport has not only had a significant impact on nanoelectronics research but also on graduate and undergraduate curriculum development in the area. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) as well as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and has received IEEE Technical Field Awards both for research and for graduate teaching. Mark Lundstrom is the Don and Carol Scifres Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. He was the founding director of the Network for Computational Nanotechnology and now serves as chairman of its Executive Committee. Lundstrom earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Minnesota in 1973 and 1974, respectively and joined the Purdue faculty upon completing his doctorate on the West Lafayette campus in 1980. Before attending Purdue, he worked at Hewlett-Packard Corporation on MOS process development and manufacturing. At Purdue, he has worked on solar cells, heterostructure devices, carrier transport physics, and the physics and simulation of nanoscale transistors. His current research interests focus on the physics and technology of energy conversion devices. Lundstrom is a fellow the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the American Physical Society (APS), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He has received several awards for his contributions to research and education and is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.

Sponsored by

"Electronics from the Bottom Up" is an educational initiative designed to bring a new perspective to the field of nano device engineering. It is co-sponsored by the Intel Foundation and the Network for Computational Nanotechnology.

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Supriyo Datta; Mark Lundstrom (2010), "Nanoelectronic Devices, With an Introduction to Spintronics,"

    BibTex | EndNote


Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN


Lecture Number/Topic Online Lecture Video Lecture Notes Supplemental Material Suggested Exercises
Nanoelectronic Devices, With an Introduction to Spintronics (Lecture Notes) Lecture Notes
Collective slides for the Datta lectures.

Lecture 1a: Atom to Transistor: A semiclassical view View
Lecture 1b: Nanotransistors - A Bottom Up View View Flash View Notes YouTube
Lecture 2: Quantum of Conductance: Resistance and uncertainty View
Discussion Session 1 (Lectures 1a, 1b and 2) View
Lecture 3: Introduction to NEGF View YouTube
Lecture 4: Bottom-up Approach to Thermoelectricity View YouTube
Discussion Session 2 (Lectures 3 and 4) View
Lecture 5: Electron Spin: How to rotate an electron to control the current View
Lecture 6: From Spins to Magnets: How quantum objects turn classical View
Discussion Session 3 (Lectures 5 and 6) View, a resource for nanoscience and nanotechnology, is supported by the National Science Foundation and other funding agencies. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.