For the first time, researchers have created a working prototype of a radical new chip design based on magnetism instead of electrical transistors.As transistor-based microchips hit the limits of Moore’s Law, a group of electrical engineers at the University of Notre Dame has fabricated a chip that uses nanoscale magnetic “islands” to juggle the ones and zeroes of binary code.
Wolfgang Porod and his colleagues turned to the process of magnetic patterning (.pdf) to produce a new chip that uses arrays of separate magnetic domains. Each island maintains its own magnetic field.
Because the chip has no wires, its device density and processing power may eventually be much higher than transistor-based devices. And it won’t be nearly as power-hungry, which will translate to less heat emission and a cooler future for portable hardware like laptops.