Feeds

'Spintronic' computing gets closer with laser 'lectron discovery

Tiny twirly tech

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Boffins in Kansas report that they have made a breakthrough in "spintronics" - the postulated future technology which might replace today's conventional electronics and allow much more powerful IT hardware.

As the name suggests, spintronics uses the spin of an electron to store information rather than its charge. If it can be made practical, this should offer a lot more performance for less energy used.

“We have been using the charge of the electron for several decades,” says physics prof Hui Zhao of the Kansas University Ultrafast Laser Lab (KUULL). “But right now the size of each device is just 30 to 50 nanometers, and you don’t have many atoms remaining on that tiny scale. We can’t continue that way anymore because we’re hitting a fundamental limit.”

The problem facing spintronicists, however, has been that it's quite difficult to detect what spin state an electron is in. This is where Zhao and his colleague Lalani Werake have done some beezer boffinry at the KUULL. According to a statement issued yesterday by KU:

The KU researchers have discovered that shining a laser beam on a piece of semiconductor generates different color lights if the spinning electrons are flowing, and the brightness of the new light is related to the strength of the spin current.

The optical effect, known as “second-harmonic generation,” can monitor spin-current in real time without altering the current itself.

“Spintronics is still in the research phase, and we hope that this new technology can be used in labs to look at problems that interest researchers,” says Zhao. “As spintronics become industrialized, we expect this could become a routine technique.”

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.