Computers may just get another increase in circuit density and a decrease in power consumption thanks to a collaboration between German and U.S. researchers. The researchers are working on a new way to integrate nanomagnetic logic into circuits by way of a 3D programmable magnetic logic gate.
The Nanotechnology journal that this discovery was published in explains that it works by way of four nanometer-scaled magnets, one output and three inputs. These are arranged in a 3D manner and acts as a traditional logic gate of a computer.
The magnets have a magnetization state that shows whether it’s on or off, and specialized microscopes that detect magnetic fields are used to check if the gates are working properly. This microscope in conjunction with testing using micromagnetic simulations, are key to insuring that the boolean value of the gate does not change without direct input. The 3D part of this gate is due to one of its input pads being located on a plane separate from the others.
According to phys.org the stronger magentic effect manages to, “reduce the error rate” and even, “improves the functionality…” which one would assume gives these logic gates a step up from other traditional transistors. The advantages of the magnetic logic gate are being radiation hardened, which is useful for applications in space, and being non-volatile, which increases reliability and the ability to preserve data without power. Other perks of the magnetic transistor include the ability to operate at normal room temperatures as opposed to some other experimental or high powered transistors requiring very low temperatures.
Although Moore’s Law seems to be faltering as of late due to the physical limits of silicon, hopefully researchers at the Technical University of Munich and the University of Notre Dame can use new technologies like the 3D magnetic logic gate to uphold Moore’s Law and benefit humanity at the same time.