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: Physicists advance understanding of transition metal oxides used in electronics

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers get first look at atom-thin boundaries

Nov 10, 2014

Scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have made the first direct observations of a one-dimensional boundary separating two different, atom-thin materials, enabling studies ...

Breaking down DNA by genome

Oct 31, 2014

New DNA sequencing technologies have greatly advanced genomic and metagenomic studies in plant biology. Scientists can readily obtain extensive genetic information for any plant species of interest, at a relatively low cost, ...

New world record for a neutron scattering magnet

Oct 30, 2014

A unique magnet developed by the Florida State University-headquartered National High Magnetic Field Laboratory (MagLab) and Germany's Helmholtz Centre Berlin (HZB) has reached a new world record for a neutron ...

Recommended for you

Yellowstone's thermal springs—their colors unveiled

10 hours ago

Researchers at Montana State University and Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany have created a simple mathematical model based on optical measurements that explains the stunning colors of ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.