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Move over, silicon switches: There's a new way to compute

Researchers from New York University have introduced a voltage-controlled topological spin switch that requires only electric fields, rather than currents, to switch between two Boolean logic states, greatly reducing the heat generated and energy used. One researcher employs a simple analogy to explain the research's results. "Imagine if you were preparing a recipe and had to go into a different room anytime you needed an ingredient," she says. "It's just as inefficient when the portions of computing hardware needed to do a calculation and the portions needed to store it are not well integrated." Tomasz Durakiewicz a program director in NSF's Division of Materials Research, which provided funding for the project, offers additional perspective. "Because of ever-increasing worldwide demands for data processing and storage, magnetic nanostructures form the backbone of a huge industry in the United States," he says, adding, "Innovative research in spintronics at U.S industrial and university laboratories has maintained our world leadership in this vital area."

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