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At small scales, tug-of-war between electrons can lead to magnetism
Date:6/30/2011

ety continues to find novel uses for magnets, which could advance technologies including lasers, medical imaging devices and, importantly, computers.

He explains the promise of magnet- or spin-based computing technology -- called "spintronics" -- by contrasting it with conventional electronics. Modern, electronic gadgets record and read data as a blueprint of ones and zeros that are represented, in circuits, by the presence or absence of electrons. Processing information requires moving electrons, which consumes energy and produces heat.

Spintronic gadgets, in contrast, store and process data by exploiting electrons' "up" and "down" spins, which can stand for the ones and zeros devices read. Future energy-saving improvements in data processing could include devices that process information by "flipping" spin instead of shuttling electrons around.

Studying how magnetism works on a small scale is particularly important, utić says, because "we would like to pack more information into less space."

And, of course, unraveling the mysteries of magnetism is satisfying for other, simpler reasons.

"Magnets have been fascinating people for thousands of years," utić says. "Some of this fascination was not always related to how you can make a better compass or a better computer hard drive. It was just peculiar that you have materials that attract one another, and you wanted to know why."


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Contact: Charlotte Hsu
chsu22@buffalo.edu
716-645-4655
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert  

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