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Computer memory takes a spin
Date:12/16/2010

. The technique was developed in a 2006 study by Boehme, who showed it was feasible to read data stored in the net magnetic spin of 10,000 electrons in phosphorus atoms embedded in a silicon semiconductor.

The new study puts together nuclear storage of data with an electrical readout of that data, and "that's what's new," Boehme says.

The study was led by Boehme and first author Dane McCamey, a former research assistant professor of physics at the University of Utah and still an adjunct assistant professor. His main affiliation now is with the University of Sydney. Other co-authors were Hans van Tol of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Fla., and Gavin Morley of University College London.

The study was funded by the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, the National Science Foundation, the Australian Research Council, Britain's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, a British funding agency led by Prince Philip.

Of Electronic and Spintronic Memories

Modern computers are electronic, meaning that information is processed and stored by flowing electricity in the form of electrons, which are negatively charged subatomic particles that orbit the nucleus of each atom. Transistors in computers are electrical switches that store data as "bits" in which "off" (no electrical charge) and "on" (charge is present) represent one bit of information: either 0 or 1.

Quantum computers a yet-unrealized goal would run on the odd principles of quantum mechanics, in which the smallest particles of light and matter can be in different places at the same time. In a quantum computer, one quantum bit or "qubit" could be both 0 and 1 at the same time. That means quantum computers theoretically could be billions of times faster than conventional computers.


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Contact: Lee Siegel
leesiegel@ucomm.utah.edu
801-581-8993
University of Utah
Source:Eurekalert  

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