Global Sources
EE Times-India
Stay in touch with EE Times India
 
EE Times-India > Processors/DSPs
 
 
Processors/DSPs  

Nanomagnetic switch to displace computer transistors

Posted: 26 Nov 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:nanomagnetic switch  transistor  tantalum 

A team of researchers at UC Berkeley has released the details of their study that they say could revolutionise the building blocks of modern electronics by making nanomagnetic switches a viable replacement for the conventional transistors found in all computers.

Semiconductor-based transistors, the on-off switches that direct the flow of electricity and form a computer's nervous system, have been consuming greater chunks of power at increasingly hotter temperatures as processing speeds grow. For more than a decade, researchers have been pursuing magnets as an alternative to transistors because they require far less energy needs when switching. However, until now, the power needed to generate the magnetic field to orient the magnets so they can easily clock on and off has negated much of the energy savings that would have been gained by moving away from transistors.

UC Berkeley researchers overcame this limitation by exploiting the special properties of the rare, heavy metal tantalum.

Nanomagnetic switch to displace computer transistors

Figure 1: As current passes through a strip of tantalum, electrons with opposite spins separate. Researchers used the resulting polarisation to create a nanomagnetic switch that could one day replace computer transistors. Credit: Debanjan Bhowmik

The researchers described how they created a so-called Spin Hall effect by using nanomagnets placed on top of tantalum wire and then sending a current through the metal. Electrons in the current will randomly spin in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. When the current is sent through tantalum's atomic core, the metal's physical properties naturally sort the electrons to opposing sides based on their direction of spin. This creates the polarisation researchers exploited to switch magnets in a logic circuit without the need for a magnetic field.

"This is a breakthrough in the push for low-powered computing," said study principal investigator Sayeef Salahuddin, UC Berkeley assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences. "The power consumption we are seeing is up to 10,000 times lower than state-of-the-art schemes for nanomagnetic computing. Our experiments are the proof of concept that magnets could one day be a realistic replacement for transistors."





Comment on "Nanomagnetic switch to displace comp..."
Comments:  
*  You can enter [0] more charecters.
*Verify code:
 
 
Webinars

Seminars

Visit Asia Webinars to learn about the latest in technology and get practical design tips.

 

Go to top             Connect on Facebook      Follow us on Twitter      Follow us on Orkut

 
Back to Top