Washington, April 4 : A multi-university research team is working to combine two different types of components of a modern computer-magnetic components that perform memory functions, and semiconductor components that perform logic operations-to create devices that operate at much higher speed, and use considerably less power than current electronic devices.
Giovanni Vignale of the University of Missouri, a member of the research team, says that this research project is to explore new ways to integrate magnetism and magnetic materials with emerging electronic materials like organic semiconductors.
He believes that this work may lead to considerably more compact and energy-efficient devices, the processing costs for which should be much less than those of traditional semiconductor chips, resulting in devices that should be less expensive to produce.
"In this approach, the coupling between magnetic and non-magnetic components would occur via a magnetic field or flow of electron spin, which is the fundamental property of an electron and is responsible for most magnetic phenomena," Vignale said.
"The hybrid devices that we target would allow seamless integration of memory and logical function, high-speed optical communication and switching, and new sensor capabilities," he added.
Vignale, who studies processes by which magnetic information can be transferred from a place to another, said: "One of the main theoretical tools I will be using for this project is the time-dependent, spin-current density functional theory."
He added: "It is a theory to which I have made many contributions over the years. The results of these theoretical calculations will be useful both to understand and to guide the experimental work of other team members."
The Department of Defense is providing a 6.5million dollars grant for the research project.