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The Quest for the Spin Transistor

The mystical property of electron spin is revolutionizing the memory business. If it can do the same with logic, electronics will become "spintronics"

14 min read
The Quest for the Spin Transistor

From the earliest batteries through vacuum tubes, solid state, and integrated circuits, electronics has staved off stagnation. Engineers and scientists have remade it repeatedly, vaulting it over one hurdle after another to keep alive a record of innovation unmatched in industrial history.

It is a spectacular and diverse account through which runs a common theme. When a galvanic pile twitches a frog's leg, when a triode amplifies a signal, or when a microprocessor stores a bit in a random access memory, the same agent is at work: the movement of electric charge. Engineers are far from exhausting the possibilities of this magnificent mechanism. But even if a dead end is not yet visible, the foreseeable hurdles are high enough to set some searching for the physics that will carry electronics on to its next stage. In so doing, it could help up the ante in the semiconductor stakes, ushering in such marvels as nonvolatile memories with enormous capacity, ultrafast logic devices that can change function on the fly, and maybe even processors powerful enough to begin to rival biological brains.v A growing band of experimenters think they have seen the future of electronics, and it is spin. This fundamental yet elusive property of electrons and other subatomic particles underlies permanent magnetism, and is often regarded as a strange form of nano-world angular momentum.

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The EV Transition Explained: Charger Infrastructure

How many, where, and who pays?

7 min read
Illuminated electric vehicle charging stations at night in Monterey Park, California.

Electric vehicle charging stations in Monterey Park, California.

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

The ability to conveniently charge an EV away from home is a top concern for many EV owners. A 2022 survey of EV owners by Forbes indicates that 62 percent of respondents are so anxious about their EV range that travel plans have been affected. While “range anxiety” may be overblown, the need for an extensive and reliable external charging infrastructure is not.

Infrastructure terminology can itself be confusing. For clarity, bear in mind that a charging station is a specific physical location which has one or more charging posts. A charging post itself may have one or more ports, where each port can charge a single EV. Each post may have multiple types of service connectors to support different EV charging connector standards. And a port may supply varying power levels.

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Video Friday: Humanoid Soccer

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read
Humans and human-size humanoid robots stand together on an indoor soccer field at the beginning of a game

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
ICRA 2023: 29 May–2 June 2023, LONDON

Enjoy today’s videos!

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Fourth Generation Digitizers With Easy-to-Use API

Learn about the latest generation high-performance data acquisition boards from Teledyne

1 min read

In this webinar, we explain the design principles and operation of our fourth-generation digitizers with a focus on the application programming interface (API).

Register now for this free webinar!

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