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Aug 14, 2012Science and Technology
IBM Spintronics Breakthrough

According to Computerworld’s Lucas Mearian IBM researchers will be announcing a major breakthrough for spintronics later this week in the journal Nature. Spintronics are similar to electronics but uses an electron’s spin--up or down--to encode data as a one or a zero. Spintronics are theoretically a great advance for computation and data storage but practically, scientists have been unable to maintain an electron's spin for longer than 30 picoseconds. Meaning electrons lose their spin far too quickly to be usable. (1GHz processors only cycle at once per nanosecond.) Now, IBM researcher have expanded the time spin can be maintained for by a factor of 30 to 1.1 nanoseconds. With this improvement spintronic data storage and spintronic devices have finally become feasibly... save for one catch. So far, the IBM researchers have only been able to attain elongated spin-times at temperatures of 40 degrees Kelvin (-233 Celsius or -387 Fahrenheit) -- far too cold for commercial use.

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