Orbitronics could keep silicon-based computing going after todays technology reaches its limits
For about 40 years, the semiconductor industry has been able to continually shrink the electronic components on silicon chips, packing ever more performance into computers. Now, fundamental physical limits to current technology have the industry scouring the research world for an alternative. In a paper published in the Aug. 1 online edition of Physical Review Letters (PRL), Stanford University physicists present orbitronics, an alternative to conventional electronics that could someday allow engineers to skirt a daunting limit while still using cheap, familiar silicon.
The miniaturization of the present-day chips is limited by power dissipation, says Shoucheng Zhang, a professor of physics, applied physics and, by courtesy, electrical engineering, who co-authored the PRL study. Up to 40 percent of the power in circuits is being lost in heat leakage, which he says will eventually make miniaturization a forbidding task.
Mark Shwartz | EurekAlert!
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