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Spinning Out New Circuits

Magnetic semiconductors could lead to a future generation of computer logic

3 min read

15 April 2010—Tiny semiconductor dots could lead to a new type of circuit based on magnetism rather than current flow. At least that’s the hope of researchers who’ve made the dots and are hoping to build them into a workable device.

”We want to make it into a so-called nonvolatile transistor,” says Kang Wang, head of the Device Research Laboratory at the University of California, Los Angeles. Such a ”spintronic” transistor would retain its logic state in the absence of current and require less power to switch a bit, reducing the electrical power required by a computer chip by as much as 99 percent. Wang’s research, supported in part by Intel, was published in March in the online version of Nature Materials.

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The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

2 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan
LightGreen

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

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