Science of spin

March 3, 2000

The days of conventional electronics could be numbered. Competing teams of scientists are preparing to announce the creation of memory chips that use the spin and not the charge of an electron to store information.

This follows the announcement that a team of Cambridge scientists has devised a way to fabricate spintronic logic gates that work at room temperature.

Stuart Wolf, an expert in the field at the US Naval Research Laboratory, said that teams from Honeywell, IBM and Motorola are racing to reveal prototype spintronic memory chips this year.

Honeywell is still testing a 1 megabit magnetic memory chip and is expected to demonstrate the new technology's potential in a personal computer in April.

Every conventional electrical and

electronic device

harnesses the charge of electrons. A spintronic memory does not lose its contents when power is switched off, is

particularly stable and has the potential to be very fast and

efficient. Dr Wolf

predicted that it could replace conventional RAM chips within a decade.

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