Feeds

IBM and Stanford's spintronics revolution

Electron spin is cool

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

IBM and Stanford University have announced a major research drive in the field of Spintronics, a new field of nanotechnology that researchers hope will turn electronics on its head, in the same way the invention of the transistor did, 50 years ago.

As more of the ever smaller transistors get packed on to every chip, the power consumption and overheating problems increase. Moving current around just generates too much heat, and the faster you want to move it, the more power you need, and the hotter things get.

The joint venture between Stanford and IBM is called "IBM-Stanford Spintronic Science and Applications Center" or SpinAps, for short. The deal is quite simple: IBM provides the seed money, Stanford supplies additional research brains, and they split the intellectual property (IP).

Spintronics provides an alternative to the traditional die method of processor manufacturing, by sidestepping the issue of current altogether. It focuses instead on the spin, or magnetic alignment, of individual electrons. An electron's spin can be in one of two states: either up or down, and it is this binary nature that makes it the subject of a whole lot of computer science research.

It is possible to control the magnetism of a material by aligning the spins of its consituent electrons, and applying magnetic fields to the material affects the movement of electrons differently, depending on their spin. The aim of the joint venture is to fully understand and control these properties. This, the scientists hope, will lead to properties like low power switching, and non-volatile storage.

If the team manages to make it work, the potential is enormous. It could lead to even smaller and more powerful processors, without the need for a heatsink the size of Wales.

In a statement on the company's webiste, IBM's boffins burble excitedly about creating "new materials and devices with entirely new capabilities - such as reconfigurable logic devices, room-temperature superconductors and quantum computers". Now that is a bit of IP worth having, even if commercial products are not expected to appear for another five years. ®

Related stories

Supercool atoms and quantum computing
Boffins discover upper limit of HD write speed
Reversible computing is the only way to survive Intel's heat
Moores Law retains grip on IT statute books: IBM

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.