The University of California-Berkeley researchers have a new idea using Electron-free magnetic microprocessors that would save energy than the computers used today. The usual microprocessors use a million times energy than the new microprocessors as they use the less amount of energy possible according to the second law of thermodynamics.
The new process will use instead of electricity, the polarity of nanoscale bar magnets to represent the binary memory- that is 0 and 1 memory. Also the nanomagnets have to be packed close, to serve as transistors which allow simple logic operations.
Such chips would dissipate only 18 millielectron volts of energy per operation at room temperature, the minimum allowed by the second law of thermodynamics and called the Landauer limit. That’s 1 million times less energy per operation than consumed by today’s computers.
Lambson is working with Jeffrey Bokor, UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences, to develop magnetic computers.
In today’s transistors and microprocessors, this limit is far below other energy losses that generate heat, primarily through the electrical resistance of moving electrons. However, researchers such as Bokor are trying to develop computers that don’t rely on moving electrons, and thus could approach the Landauer limit. Lambson decided to theoretically and experimentally test the limiting energy efficiency of a simple magnetic logic circuit and magnetic memory.
The nanomagnets that Bokor, Lambson and his lab use to build magnetic memory and logic devices are about 100 nanometers wide and about 200 nanometers long. Because they have the same north-south polarity as a bar magnet, the up-or-down orientation of the pole can be used to represent the 0 and 1 of binary computer memory. In addition, when multiple nanomagnets are brought together, their north and south poles interact via dipole-dipole forces to exhibit transistor behavior, allowing simple logic operations.