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article imageSpin migration raises prospects for zero-power computers

By Tim Sandle     Jun 28, 2019 in Technology
New research investigating the spin migration on electrons opens up the prospects for a new generation of zero-power computers.
Researchers, working at the Institute of Physics at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, have been looking into the process that control electron spins (where spin is a term to describe electrons rotating around their own axis). Electron spin is fundamental to many aspects of computing, such as the way by which hard disks store information.
The review of these mechanisms reveals that spins can occur almost without electrons. This finding holds the key to a very energy-efficient circuit and with it the potential of a near zero-power computer.
It also stands that, with computing power, technology is on the brink of reaching the maximum that is possible with computing speed (at least until the first 'true' quantum computers emerge). Part of the research into electron spin is also orientated towards creating computers that can function even faster in the future.
This rests with the filed of molecular electronics and microelectronics. With such systems, individual molecules form the components (as with the use of polymers). According to Dr. Erik R. McNellis, who spoke with Smart2Zero: "Small changes in the structure of these polymers can be implemented much more easily and precisely than corresponding changes in traditional semiconductor materials."
The researcher explains that it had previously been thought that spins move with the electrons. It is now apparent that the spins do not simply travel with the electrons, they also leap from one polymer chain to the next. It is through this understanding that a new dimension has been opened up with the technology. The key breakthrough is that spins can be used to transmit information without requiring the use of electricity.
The research has been reported to the journal Nature Physics, with the paper headed "Polaron spin dynamics in high-mobility polymeric semiconductors."
Furthermore, the research group has demonstrated how the vibrations can be affected by the way the molecules are designed and temperature controlled.
More about Computers, Electrons, electron spin, computing energy
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