Date of this Version
Published in Solid State Physics, ed. by H. Ehrenreich and F. Spaepen, Vol. 56 (Academic Press, 2001) pp.113-237
Giant magnetoresistance (GMR) is one of the most fascinating discoveries in thin-film magnetism, which combines both tremendous technological potential and deep fundamental physics. Within a decade of GMR being discovered in 1988 commercial devices based on this phenomenon, such as hard-disk read-heads, magnetic field sensors and magnetic memory chips, had become available in the market. These achievements would not have been possible without a detailed understanding of the physics of GMR, which requires a quantum-mechanical insight into the electronic spin-dependent transport in magnetic structures.