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Spintronics might not be the sort of word that comes up in everyday discussions, but it has been revolutionising computer technology for years. It's the branch of physics that involves manipulating the spin of a flow of electrons, which first reached consumers in the late 1990s in the form of magnetic computer hard drives with several hundreds of times the storage capacity of their predecessors.



These and other have since been refined to make computers many times more powerful again, not to mention much cooler and more energy efficient—enabling everything from MP3 players to the smartphones of today. Intel and Google began unveiling quantum processors last year, and Samsung and Everspin launched MRAM () chips a few months ago. This is expected to substantially improve computing performance—by one estimate, for example, the potential reduction in power requirements could be over 99%.

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Category: Science