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Toward Achieving 1 Million Times Increase in Computing Efficiency

Northwestern University Newscenter (07/10/12)

Complementary metal-oxide semiconductors (CMOS) give off more heat as more transistors are added, which makes CMOS incapable of supporting tomorrow’s high-powered computer systems.  Northwestern University researchers say they have developed a new logic circuit family based on magnetic semiconductor devices that could result in logic circuits up to one million times more power-efficient than CMOS-based systems.  Northwestern’s “spin-logic circuits” utilize the quantum physics phenomenon of spin, a fundamental property of the electron.  “We are using ‘spintronic’ logic devices to successfully perform the same operations as conventional CMOS circuits but with fewer devices and more computing power,” says Northwestern professor Bruce W. Wessels.  The spin-logic circuits are created using magnetoresistive bipolar spin-transistors.  Although the goal of one million times increased power efficiency is optimistic and could take up to 10 years to reach, “we think this is potentially groundbreaking,” says Northwestern’s Joseph Friedman.

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