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Harnessing spin waves—collective oscillations of electron spins—as carriers of information might lead to computers that are smaller, faster, and more compact than conventional devices. Now, researchers have used scanning transmission x-ray microscopy (STXM) to directly image such spin waves in yttrium iron garnet (YIG), a magnetic insulator prized for its ability to support spin waves for relatively long periods of time. The result will lead to a better understanding of how spin waves propagate—especially those with wavelengths below 250 nm, which are deemed essential for device miniaturization.

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