Moore´s Law - a dictum of the electronics industry that says the number of transistors that fit on a computer chip will double every 18 months - may soon face some fundamental roadblocks. Most researchers think there´ll eventually be a limit to how many transistors they can cram on a chip. But even if Moore´s Law could continue to spawn ever-tinier chips, small electronic devices are plagued by a big problem: energy loss, or dissipation, as signals pass from one transistor to the next. Line up all the tiny wires that connect the transistors in a Pentium chip, and the total length would stretch almost a mile. A lot of useful energy is lost as heat as electrons travel that distance.
Theoretical physicists at Stanford and the University of Tokyo think they´ve found a way to solve the dissipation problem by manipulating a neglected property of the electron - its "spin", or orientation, typically described by its quantum state as "up" or "down."
They report their findings in the Aug. 7 issue of Science Express, an online version of Science magazine. Electronics relies on Ohms Law, which says application of a voltage to many materials results in the creation of a current. That´ because electrons transmit their charge through the materials. But Ohm´s Law also describes the inevitable conversion of electric energy into heat when electrons encounter resistance as they pass through materials.
Dawn Levy | EurekAlert!
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