No Electricity, No Silicon? MIT Researchers Develop Paradigm-shifting Circuit

Science

Moving towards energy-efficiency, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have recently developed a silicon-free circuit to control computing

Written By Suchitra Karthikeyan | Mumbai | Updated On:
MIT

Moving towards energy-efficiency, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have recently developed a silicon-free circuit to control computing, according to international reports. This circuit which can control computing without electricity offers the potential for more energy-efficient computers according to researchers. The study has been published in the latest edition of Science magazine.

Silicon-free computation

The study describes the elements of the new circuit. Using a magnetic-based device, the circuit reportedly uses the 'spin-wave' property of electrons in lattice-structured magnetic materials. The study stated that the magnetic material uses a pattern on nanometer-thin barriers between the two neighboring magnetic structures.

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Using wave functions instead of electrons 

Explaining the functioning of the circuit, researchers state that now people are looking beyond silicon for computation technology, believing that wave computing is a promising alternative. MIT professor Liu Luqiao - the study's principal investigator, has stated that the circuit architecture uses the nanometer-wide barrier to modulate the passing spin-wave. The circuit resembles a water pipe, with a valve (wall) controlling how the water (spin wave) flows through the pipe (magnetic material), stated Luqiao.

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He stated that the interaction between the spin-wave and the barrier helps in controlling the 'upstream' and 'downstream' spin-wave, corresponding to the digital computing's 1s and 0s, according to the study. Luqiao stated that this modulation of the spins creates two separate states without any energy costs. His team aims to build a working wave circuit that can execute basic computations.

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Fake sunflowers to produce solar power

In another energy-efficient effort to produce solar energy, scientists had created 'fake sunflowers' to replicate the behavior exhibited in Phototropism, a growing phenomenon in direct response to a light stimulus and is mostly found in plants. The researchers from the University of California and Arizona state university wanted to recreate the same phenomena by using synthetic materials. The fake sunflower automatically followed a source of light by bending towards it with no external factors helping the synthetic material to bend.

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