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quantum mechanics faster processing spintronics ames laboratory quadrillionths of a second

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#1 Hum

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Posted 07 April 2013 - 21:21

Physicists have nudged electrons to change their spin in just quadrillionths of a second, the fastest ever achieved and a basic-science feat that could lead to faster computer processing and storage.

Electrons have three basic properties: mass, electric charge and spin. The spin is a form of angular momentum, which relates to how an electron moves around the nucleus of an atom. An electron's spin comes in two flavors: up and down.

Manipulating electrons is important for computing since most data storage these days is magnetic and relies on aligning the spin of electrons in a material. In recent years, a new technology known as spintronics has emerged that aims to control both the spin and the electric charge of electrons to improve how information is stored. The technology relies on the rapid switching of magnetic fields, which can now be done within quadrillionths of a second, a new study shows.

"We may expect faster writing in hard drives and faster reading and writing in [computer memory] with even less power used," said Jigang Wang, a physicist at Ames Laboratory in Iowa. The technology could someday be used, for example, to show extremely fast HD movies, Wang added.

Spintronics researchers have been faced with the hurdle of figuring out how to go from the gigahertz speed of today's conventional computer memory and logic systems to the terahertz speed. Doing so requires an understanding of what's happening during magnetic switching on very brief timescales.

The real achievement, though, was doing this about a thousand times faster than current technology. To visualize how the material changed its magnetic properties, the scientists used a special type of imaging to take snapshots of the process — similar to taking a photo under a strobe light. Using this technique, the researchers saw how the magnetization started developing during the laser pulses.

On these very short timescales, conventional thermodynamics is not important, and quantum mechanics takes over.

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#2 Growled

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 01:22

Physicists have nudged electrons to change their spin in just quadrillionths of a second, the fastest ever achieved and a basic-science feat that could lead to faster computer processing and storage.


That's just amazing that they can work at those levels.

#3 +Phouchg

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 07:08

Does that mean those people that specify 3 GHz quad-core processor power as 12 GHz will soon be in trouble because teraherz will outpwn them?

#4 The Dark Knight

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 07:30

This should run Crysis 3 maxed out! :p

#5 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 17:25

Like many other of the discoveries in recent years that will "usher in a new dawn of super-computing", I'll believe it when it's in the stores.

Until then, it's marsh gas.

#6 Alladaskill17

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 17:29

Cool! See ya on the market in... a decade-ish?

#7 Astra.Xtreme

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 17:57

A terahertz clock will require a pretty tremendous amount of power, so it will probably be a while before we see something of that speed.

#8 firey

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 18:05

A terahertz clock will require a pretty tremendous amount of power, so it will probably be a while before we see something of that speed.


Maybe, they did note: "with even less power used," I'm perfectly okay with my 2.66Ghz lol.

#9 Astra.Xtreme

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 18:20

Maybe, they did note: "with even less power used," I'm perfectly okay with my 2.66Ghz lol.


I think they were referring to controlling the electric charge of an electron, which would yield power savings. I could be wrong though.

#10 sagum

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 18:52

Does that mean those people that specify 3 GHz quad-core processor power as 12 GHz will soon be in trouble because teraherz will outpwn them?


I dunno what you said, but passwords will be cracked.

#11 +Phouchg

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Posted 08 April 2013 - 19:55

I dunno what you said, but passwords will be cracked.

It is quite a nonsense, indeed.

About passwords. Not for a layman (brute force in this case would only "take away" 8 bits from key size, which is really insignificant for something like AES-256). Maybe Shamir could probably then finally pull TWIRL out of this pocket, so that RSA-1024 falls before quantum computers even begin to take any ground, though.



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