July 16, 2012
Development Promises Million Times Increase in Computing Efficiency
|Engineers seeking alternatives to CMOS technology that would allow computer logic circuits that generate much less heat. Northwestern University researchers may have found a solution: an entirely new logic circuit family based on magnetic semiconductor devices. The advance could lead to logic circuits up to 1 million times more power-efficient than today's technology.|
Among the most significant challenges is heat dissipation from circuits created using today’s standard semiconductor technology, complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS), which give off more heat as more transistors are added. This makes CMOS incapable of supporting the computers of the future.
Engineers and researchers are continually seeking alternatives to CMOS that would allow for highly efficient computer logic circuits that generate much less heat. Now Northwestern University researchers may have found a solution: an entirely new logic circuit family based on magnetic semiconductor devices. The advance could lead to logic circuits up to one million times more power-efficient than today’s machines.
Unlike the voltage-level/ charged switched computing elements in today's transistors this research has produced elements that utilize the spin of electrons directly, and not "bunches" of them in order to effect logic-gate operations.
“What we’ve developed is a device that can be configured in a logic circuit that is capable of performing all the necessary Boolean logic and can be cascaded to develop sophisticated function units," said Bruce W. Wessels, Walter P. Murphy Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, one of the paper’s authors.
“We are using ‘spintronic’ logic devices to successfully perform the same operations as a conventional CMOS circuits but with fewer devices and more computing power.”
The spin-logic circuits are created with magnetoresistive bipolar spin-transistors, recently patented by McCormick researchers.
A paper describing the findings, “Emitter-Coupled Spin-Transistor Logic,” was presented July 5 at the International Symposium on Nanoscale Architectures held in the Netherlands. Additional authors of the paper include graduate student Joseph Friedman, the paper’s lead author; Gokhan Memik, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science; and Alan Sahakian, professor of electrical engineering and computer science.
SOURCE Northwestern University
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Tags: CMOS, computers, gadgets, magnetoresistive bipolar spin-transistors, Moore's Law, Northwestern University, quantum computing, spintronic circuits, technology
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