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It’s become increasingly clear in recent years that current methods of scaling and developing next-generation computer processors aren’t capable of restoring historic trends. While work continues on extending current technologies, many researchers and corporations have turned their attention to alternate methods and concepts for computing. One such alternative is spintronics — and while it’s proven exceedingly difficult to adapt for computer processors, new data suggests graphene might hold the key to solving some of these problems.

Spintronics is a portmanteau that means “spin transport electronics.” Traditional transistors rely on electrical states to perform calculations — a 0 is “off” and a 1 is “on.” As process nodes have gotten smaller, it’s become increasingly difficult to prevent electric current from leaking across a transistor that’s supposed to be off, while fundamental limits to voltage scaling prevent us from building transistors that continue to use less power.

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