developed a method to control the movements occurring within magnetic materials, which are used to store and carry information. The breakthrough could simultaneously bolster information processing while reducing the energy necessary to do so.
Their method, reported in the most recent issue of the journal Nature Nanotechnology, manipulates "spin waves," which are waves that move in magnetic materials. Physically, these spin waves are much like water waves—like those that propagate on the surface of an ocean. However, like electromagnetic waves (i.e., light and radio waves), spin waves can efficiently transfer energy and information from place to place.
The challenge, scientists have found, is developing a means to create and control them.
In the Nature Nanotechnology study, the NYU-UB researchers demonstrated how this could be achieved.
"Spin waves have great potential to improve information processing and make it more energy efficient," says Andrew Kent, a professor in NYU's Department of Physics and the paper's senior author. "Our results show that it's possible to both create and store spin wave energy in remarkably small spaces. The next steps are to understand how far these waves can propagate and how best to encode information in them."