A big chunk of indium antimonide

Koreans create magnetic transistor that could turn every CPU into an FPGA

Autore: ExtremeTech

A big chunk of indium antimonide

Researchers at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) in Seoul have created a transistor that is switched by magnetism, rather than electricity. This could lead to computer chips that can be quickly and easily reprogrammed with software, allowing for computers and gadgets that “mutate” depending on your computational needs.

This magnetic transistor is fashioned out of indium antimonide (InSb, pictured above), a narrow-gap semiconductor that isn’t usually associated with computer chips. The KIST researchers sandwiched p- and n-doped InSb together, creating something like a magnetic bridge. The n-type InSb has excess electrons, and the p-type has a bunch of holes that the electrons could neatly fit into. When magnetism is applied the electrons are sucked down into the holes, allowing current to flow across the bridge, effectively turning the switch on (pictured below).

KIST's indium antimonide magnetic transistorThe switch remains turned on until the magnetic field is actively flipped — unlike electronic transistors, which require a constant flow of electricity. In theory this could lead to computer chips that consume less power, and chips with circuitry that can be altered on the fly. Instead of computer chips having dedicated transistors for dozens of different instructions and functions, you might just have a few programmable blocks that can be switched from video decoding, to audio processing, to floating point math. It’s a bit like an FPGA – field-programmable gate array but more readily programmable — and perhaps more power efficient, too.

There are caveats, of course — the most blaring of which is that this isn’t silicon. Indium antimonide isn’t overly compatible with current chip making processes, which essentially makes this technology a non-starter, unless someone can prove that these magnetic transistors are really, really awesome. Mark Johnson of the Naval Research Laboratory, talking to Nature, says that it might eventually be possible to build similar magnetic bridges out of silicon, however.

The second issue is that each transistor needs an accompanying magnet to turn it on and off — and there isn’t currently an easy way of integrating miniature magnets into a high-density computer chip. There is good progress being made with magnetic tunnel junctions in MRAM, but whether MTJs can be used with these InSb bridges is uncertain. As silicon slowly trundles towards the end of its road, spintronic devices — such as MRAM or this new magnetic logic — could certainly be the next avenue for computing, but it’s still just too early to call.

Now read: Spintronics and straintronics may power future ultra-low-power devices

Research paper: doi:10.1038/nature11817 – “Magnetic-field-controlled reconfigurable semiconductor logic”

10 thoughts on “Koreans create magnetic transistor that could turn every CPU into an FPGA

  1. La poesia è questa:

    “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”

    I wandered lonely as a cloud
    That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
    When all at once I saw a crowd,
    A host, of golden daffodils;
    Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
    Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

    Continuous as the stars that shine
    And twinkle on the milky way,
    They stretched in never-ending line
    Along the margin of a bay:
    Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
    Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

    The waves beside them danced; but they
    Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
    A poet could not but be gay,
    In such a jocund company:
    I gazed — and gazed — but little thought
    What wealth the show to me had brought:

    For oft, when on my couch I lie
    In vacant or in pensive mood,
    They flash upon that inward eye
    Which is the bliss of solitude;
    And then my heart with pleasure fills,
    And dances with the daffodils.

    William Wordsworth

    Grazie mille a TUTTi in anticipo! : )

  2. Young blood really is the key to youth.

    18 October 2012 by Helen Thomson, New Orleans.

    HUMANS are constantly searching for an elixir of youth – could it be that an infusion of young blood holds the key?
    This seems to be true for mice, at least. According to research presented this week at the Society for Neuroscience conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, giving young blood to old mice can reverse some of the effects of age-related cognitive decline.
    Last year, Saul Villeda, then at Stanford University in California, and colleagues showed they could boost the growth of new cells in the brains of old mice by giving them a blood infusion from young mice (Nature, doi.org/c9jwvm).

    cosa c’ entra con politica e governo?

  3. Ciao ragazzi qualcuno di voi bravo può tradurmi questo testo inglese in italiano perfettamente ? NO CON I TRADUTTORI perchè già ci ho provato io ma non esce bene e non si capisce perfettamente !!
    questo è il testo:

    Dear Massimiliano,
    thanks fort the photos. I can identify the problem now.
    To sort out the problem we will send you complete new sled for the Leg-Press.
    For the T-Bar I checked some of the boxes we got in stock. So I could ascertain that the parts you are missing, fail in all packages.
    I ordered new parts by air-freight, and will send you as soon as possible.
    I hope this is in your sense. I will inform you when we ship the parts.

    Best regards

    grazie mille a chi mi aiuterà 10 punti assicurati al migliore !!
    ragazzi ma quelli sono fatti con i traduttori e non si capisce bene.. qualcuno che sa bene l’inglese magari se mi può aiutare ! grazie

  4. (perfavore non fate un semplice copia e incolla su google traduttore e se poi mi spiegate pure il significato vi sarò infinitamente grato)

    “Break, Break, Break”

    Break, break, break,
    On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
    And I would that my tongue could utter
    The thoughts that arise in me.

    O well for the fisherman’s boy,
    That he shouts with his sister at play!
    O well for the sailor lad,
    That he sings in his boat on the bay!

    And the stately ships go on
    To their haven under the hill:
    But O for the touch of a vanish’d hand,
    And the sound of a voice that is still!

    Break, break, break,
    At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
    But the tender grace of a day that is dead
    Will never come back to me.

  5. As for example in “What a pity. I wish I had been there for the party” or “What a pity. I wish I could have joined the party” and such?

  6. I took a look
    In your book
    Read a few lines and I was hooked
    I didn’t know love until I met you
    I was a mess
    I must confess
    That long black hair and a long black dress
    I think that I was blind until I met you

    Good morning sunshine
    Great the day and the light
    Its time to go outside
    If you could keep steady
    Get up and get ready
    Its time to go outside

    I crossed the lines
    I made you cry
    I must have done it a thousand times
    I guess that love is just a mountain
    All the things running through my head
    All the things I wished I’d said
    I’d be a fool to think that I could ever let you go

    Good morning sunshine
    Great the day and the light
    Its time to go outside
    If you could keep steady
    Get up and get ready
    Its time to go outside
    With you

  7. Potreste valutare questa breve presentazione relativa agli insegnanti di lingue? Grz in anticipo.
    The man in the photo is an English and a French teacher. In the future I’d like to do this job because I could teach the children how to speak more languages, a thing that is very important today, in my opinion. Obviously, to become a good languages teacher you have to study hard, spend a lot of time with stranger people, listen to their conversations and try to understand what they are talking about and imitate the pronunciation too, helping you with some cassettes for example. But if you are determined you can do it.
    Le domande alle quali dovevo rispondere per poter fare la presentazione sono le seguenti:
    prendi una foto e parla del lavoro che essa rappresenta;
    What is the name of the job?
    Would you like to do it?
    Why?
    How can you prepare for it?
    Is it a dangerous, difficult or easy job? Why?

  8. 1)although robinson crusoe was a successful novel it didn’t put the other writers of his age off criticizing it. The disdain of the cultured public was caused by the absence of features which belonged to the roman and the greek literature in the work. It was a book fitted to the new public of readers whom became closer to reading in that period.

    2during the seventeenth century many european countries started to set colonies up all over the world. In this age the power of a country depended on the resources of the colonies. India was a big country rich of resources and therefore it caught the interest of france and england,whom created their own East India Companies to control India

    3Roland Hill was the man to whom we should be grateful for our possibility of sending letters. Before the 1840 the postal service created by king Charles I was to expensive and only the rich could afford it. Introducing stamps ,letterboxes and a quicker way to deliver letters he created the modern postal service that could be payed by everybody

  9. Il messaggio è: “An installation support file could not be installed
    Classe non registrata”
    Il software in questione è il videogioco “The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind”

  10. That is, wouldn’t protectionism be more effective, saving lots of jobs and firms? Wouldn’t it save the well-being of a country and its people?
    But yet, isn’t free trade said to be much better for the economy?
    How could one politically convince someone that free trade is still better, even in case of crisis?

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