Research News

Move over, silicon switches: There's a new way to compute

Researchers discover new method of controlling magnetic circuits

In a newly published Physical Review Applied paper, researchers from New York University introduce a voltage-controlled topological spin switch (vTOPSS) that requires only electric fields, rather than currents, to switch between two Boolean logic states, greatly reducing the heat generated and energy used.

The team is comprised of Shaloo Rakheja, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and Andrew D. Kent, an NYU professor of physics and director of the University's Center for Quantum Phenomena, along Michael E. Flatté, a professor at the University of Iowa.

Rakheja employs a simple analogy to explain the research's results. "Imagine if you were preparing a recipe and had to go into a different room anytime you needed an ingredient," she says. "It's just as inefficient when the portions of computing hardware needed to do a calculation and the portions needed to store it are not well integrated."

"Because of ever-increasing worldwide demands for data processing and storage, magnetic nanostructures form the backbone of a huge industry in the United States," said Tomasz Durakiewicz a program director in NSF's Division of Materials Research, which provided funding for the project. "Innovative research in spintronics at U.S industrial and university laboratories has maintained our world leadership in this vital area."