The word "spintronics" is a portmanteau of spin and electronics. That's because this emerging field of applied physics offers an alternative to conventional electronics – using an electron's spin instead of its charge to carry information. In this short video, Christoph Boehme – a condensed matter researcher of the University of Utah in the US – introduces spintronics to the uninitiated. Boehme takes it back to basics by explaining what physicists mean by an electron's spin and how this can be exploited to encode information within circuitry. He also introduces some of the possible applications and beneficiaries of spintronics such as websites dealing with big data sets.

This video is part of our 100 Second Science series, in which researchers give concise presentations covering the spectrum of physics.