Hybrid computer materials may lead to faster, cheaper technology

Apr 03, 2008

A modern computer contains two different types of components: magnetic components, which perform memory functions, and semiconductor components, which perform logic operations. A University of Missouri researcher, as part of a multi-university research team, is working to combine these two functions in a single hybrid material.

This new material would allow seamless integration of memory and logical functions and is expected to permit the design of devices that operate at much higher speeds and use considerably less power than current electronic devices.

Giovanni Vignale, MU physics professor in the College of Arts and Science and expert in condensed matter physics, says the primary goal of the research team, funded by a $6.5 million grant from the Department of Defense, is to explore new ways to integrate magnetism and magnetic materials with emerging electronic materials such as organic semiconductors.

The research may lead to considerably more compact and energy-efficient devices. The processing costs for these hybrid materials are projected to be much less than those of traditional semiconductor chips, resulting in devices that should be less expensive to produce.

“In this approach, the coupling between magnetic and non-magnetic components would occur via a magnetic field or flow of electron spin, which is the fundamental property of an electron and is responsible for most magnetic phenomena,” Vignale said. “The hybrid devices that we target would allow seamless integration of memory and logical function, high-speed optical communication and switching, and new sensor capabilities.”

Vignale studies processes by which magnetic information can be transferred from a place to another.

“One of the main theoretical tools I will be using for this project is the time-dependent, spin-current density functional theory,” Vignale said. “It is a theory to which I have made many contributions over the years. The results of these theoretical calculations will be useful both to understand and to guide the experimental work of other team members.”

Source: University of Missouri-Columbia

Explore further: Researchers develop scalable methods for manufacturing metamaterials

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

HFML sets world record with a new 38 tesla magnet

Mar 31, 2014

The High Field Magnet Laboratory (HFML) at the Radboud University Nijmegen set a new world record today: the generation of a continuous magnetic field of 38 tesla in a resistive (i.e. non-superconducting) ...

Hot nanoparticles for cancer treatments

Mar 24, 2014

Nanoparticles have a great deal of potential in medicine: for diagnostics, as a vehicle for active substances or a tool to kill off tumours using heat. ETH Zurich researchers have now developed particles ...

Urgent need to recycle rare metals

Feb 18, 2014

Rare earth metals are important components in green energy products such as wind turbines and eco-cars. But the scarcity of these metals is worrying the EU.

Recommended for you

Novel technique opens door to better solar cells

Apr 14, 2014

A team of scientists, led by Assistant Professor Andrivo Rusydi from the Department of Physics at the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Faculty of Science, has successfully developed a technique to ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.