SUPERCOMPUTING and SUPERCONDUCTORS

Recent research provides  evidence that superconductors could be used as an energy-efficient source for so-called “spin-based” devices, which are already starting to appear in microelectronic circuits. Beyond these early developments, spin-based electronics (or “spintronics”) promises the potential to create a new generation of super-fast computers, capable of processing vast amounts of data in an energy-efficient way. Unlike conventional electronic devices, which transmit information via the charge carried by an electron, spintronics exploits another fundamental property of that electron, called “spin”. In simple terms, spin refers to the intrinsic angular momentum of the electron, and makes it behave like a tiny magnet. Spintronics involves manipulating this to perform logic operations in devices. Superconductors – materials which, when cooled below a certain temperature, can carry a current without losing energy – provide one potential solution to this. If these materials could be harnessed in spin-based devices, an energy-efficient source for the charge required to create spin currents could be provided.

 

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