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The next generation: nanomagnets could replace semiconductors
Date:9/2/2007

Just as compact discs all but wiped out vinyl records, semiconductors could be on their way out, too.

A University of Houston professor has developed a similar disruptive technology, using magnetic cellular networks, that could yield such benefits as increased computing power that rivals what is possible with semiconductor integrated circuits.

Integrated circuits, which are a microscopic array of electronic circuits and components that have been implanted on the surface of a single chip of semiconducting material, have become the principal components of almost all electronic devices. Compared to the vacuum tubes and transistors that preceded them, integrated circuits have provided a low-cost, highly reliable way for computers to respond to a wider range of input and produce a wider range of output.

Dmitri Litvinov, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and of chemical and biomolecular engineering in the Cullen College of Engineering at UH, is working with specially arranged assemblies of nanomagnets, or magnetic cellular networks, to replace conventional circuitry and significantly improve computing operations. His research involves a system of interacting magnetic nanocells that could combine logic, random access memory and data storage in a single nanomagnetic computing system.

Working from logic gates, which are at the heart of a computers ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide, Litvinov wants to demonstrate that the magnetization of adjacent magnets is possible and can be used to perform specific logic and computing operations, reversing the repulsive and attractive poles of magnets.

The significance is potentially ultra-high density of magnetic computing components for significantly higher computing power beyond what is expected to be achievable with semiconductor integrated circuits, said Litvinov, who also is the director of the Center for Nanomagnetic Systems at UH. Ad
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Contact: Lisa Merkl
lkmerkl@uh.edu
713-743-8192
University of Houston
Source:Eurekalert

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