Research could lead to more efficient electronics

June 4, 2018 by Todd B. Bates, Rutgers University
An exotic magnetic insulator conducts electricity along its edges without energy loss. The M stands for magnetization of the magnet, and this GIF shows the magnetization reversal process (red to blue and vice versa). Credit: Wenbo Wang/Rutgers University-New Brunswick

A Rutgers-led team of physicists has demonstrated a way to conduct electricity between transistors without energy loss, opening the door to low-power electronics and, potentially, quantum computing that would be far faster than today's computers.

Their findings, which involved using a special mix of materials with magnetic and insulator properties, are published online in Nature Physics.

"This material, although it's much diluted in terms of magnetic properties, can still behave like a magnet and conducts electricity at without loss," said Weida Wu, senior author of the study and associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. "At least in principle, if you can make it work at a higher temperature, you can use it for electronic interconnections within silicon chips used in computers and other devices."

Study co-authors in China combined chromium and vanadium as magnetic elements with an insulator consisting of bismuth, antimony and tellurium. When electrons in this special material are aligned in one direction—like a compass needle pointing north—an electric current can only flow along its edges in one direction, leading to zero energy loss. That means electricity could be conducted between transistors within silicon chips used in computers and other electronics with maximum efficiency.

Current use primarily metal for electrical interconnections in transistors, but that leads to substantial energy loss, Wu said.

The scientists demonstrated the uniform alignment of spinning electrons in the special magnetic insulator—called the anomalous Hall insulator. It conducts electricity without when the temperature is close to absolute zero: minus 459.67 degrees Fahrenheit. Next steps would include demonstrating the phenomenon at a much higher and more practical temperature for electronics, along with building a platform for .

The study was led by Wenbo Wang, a physics doctoral student in Rutgers' School of Graduate Studies. Co-authors include scientists at Tsinghua University and the Collaborative Innovation Center of Quantum Matter, both in Beijing, China.

Explore further: Novel insulators with conducting edges

More information: Wenbo Wang et al, Direct evidence of ferromagnetism in a quantum anomalous Hall system, Nature Physics (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41567-018-0149-1

Related Stories

Novel insulators with conducting edges

June 1, 2018

Physicists at the University of Zurich are researching a new class of materials: Higher-order topological insulators. The edges of these crystalline solids conduct electric current without dissipation, while the rest of the ...

New 'topological insulator' could lead to superfast computers

September 22, 2014

University of Utah engineers discovered a way to create a special material – a metal layer on top of a silicon semiconductor – that could lead to cost-effective, superfast computers that perform lightning-fast calculations ...

New research advances spintronics technology

February 1, 2018

Engineers at the University of California, Riverside, have reported advances in so-called "spintronic" devices that will help lead to a new technology for computing and data storage. They have developed methods to detect ...

Recommended for you

Gravitational wave detectors to search for dark matter

August 16, 2018

Gravitational wave detectors might be able to detect much more than gravitational waves. According to a new study, they could also potentially detect dark matter, if dark matter is composed of a particular kind of particle ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

humy
not rated yet Jun 04, 2018
"...It conducts electricity without energy loss..."

Are they talking here about superconductivity?
Or is the effect they are talking about here something that shouldn't be confused with superconductivity?
Please someone correct me if I need correcting but, I had always thought the only way a solid could conduct electricity without energy loss was via superconductivity? Is that right or wrong?
Thorium Boy
4 / 5 (1) Jun 05, 2018
The title is kind of like saying, "working will result in earning money."

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.